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EMBO Workshop — Creating is understanding: Synthetic biology tackles biological complexity

22nd September 2019   -   25th September 2019
Heidelberg, Germany


Most engineered systems in biology are inspired by natural systems. Many achievements in synthetic biology that we have witnessed in the past decade, directly or indirectly, resulted from studies that were carried out in the context of basic/fundamental biology, the purposes of which were not engineering but understanding. A few examples are the natural regulatory response of the cell to its environment inspired the development of synthetic regulatory circuits, the understanding of cellular networks led the way to the optimisation of host strain for bioproduction and the CRISPR-Cas immunity system of bacteria and archaea opened new possibilities to reroute cell programs for new purposes. Our workshop fosters the trust that creating is understanding. We have prepared a program with four themes that are geared toward basic research while being at the forefront of synthetic biology. We start by asking how engineering can be used as an interpretive framework to biology, we then probe how biology can be interfaced with the non living (e.g. electronic devices, software), we next explore how synthetic biology can be used to reconstruct cellular systems (minimal, genome, and consortia) and we close by questioning how other biology is possible through engineering.