SBPWG:Meetings/April 6 2011

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Meeting Notes: April 6th 2011

First Meeting

UCSF Mission Bay 6-8pm


Please join us at UCSF Mission Bay campus next Wednesday evening 4/6 at 6pm to discuss opportunities to get involved in synthetic biology practices working groups, programs and events.

For those of you not at last week's SynBERC retreat, a group of students and postdocs met briefly to discuss interest in forming synthetic biology 'working groups' . The basic idea behind working groups is to bring together community members to learn together and work towards concrete deliverables (activities, white/research papers, commentaries) on specific gaps, needs or issues in our practice of synthetic biology. Several topics have already been proposed, including (1) ownership, sharing and innovation frameworks for syn bio, (2) design principles for biological systems, (3) public engagement and communication, and (4) opportunities and limitations in designing for safety.

If you're interested in learning more about, participating in, or leading groups and activities, please join us and bring your ideas!

SynBERC will host the event and provide dinner. However, this is not exclusive to SynBERC members - please pass on this invitation to anyone interested.

We'll plan to finish by 8pm, but anyone interested is encouraged to join us for drinks in the area after the meeting.

Please RSVP to by 12pm PST April 5th and I will follow up with additional details and directions for travel from Berkeley and Stanford.

For our friends not in the Bay Area, please let me know if you're interested and we can discuss how best to coordinate efforts.


-Megan Palmer (Stanford)
-Joseph Jackson (BioCurious)
-Danielle Tullman-Ercek (Berkeley)
-Reid Williams (UCSF)
-Ryan Ritterson (UCSF)
-Hanson Lee (Berkeley)
-Marlee Tichenor (Berkeley)
-Josh Wolf (Stanford)
-Mike Fisher (Berkeley)
-Will Carey (IDEO)
-Pablo Schyfter (Stanford)
-Megan Palmer (Stanford)
-Erik Lontok (UCSF)
-Megan Palmer (Stanford)
-Felix Moser (UCSF)
-Robin Prince (UCSF)
-Eli Groban (LS9)


Megan Palmer's Intro Slides from the Meeting

Brainstorming: What should we do?

  • Educate ourselves
  • Educate others
  • Communications training
  • Review new models for public engagement and education (gaming etc)
  • Work through case studies in synthetic biology practices and outline lessons learned
  • Develop a list of top challenging/open questions in synthetic biology
  • Invite in people to give us summaries of the 'state of practices'
 * current regulation
 * the ERC model for developing SB - what is it and why is it appropriate        
 * ownership and sharing 
 * bioethics
 * history of threatened technologies (examples?) 

Next meeting

Breaking down practices by topical area v1 Volunteers from the group pick a topic of interest to brainstorm answers to the following questions

  • what's new?
  • what's not?
  • what's next?
  • why does it matter?

Topical areas:

  • ownership and innovation (ryan, joseph)
  • ethics (marlee)
  • communications/education/outreach (danielle) (also hanson?)
  • safety (robin)
  • security (mike)
  • design/philosophy (reid)
  • applications (megan)

Point was made that first should first be asking: why do synthetic biology?