RoSBNet Launch Meeting
RoSBNet had its inaugural meeting on the 6 July 2009 from 3 pm onwards in the main seminar room, New Biochemistry building, Science area of the University of Oxford followed by drinks and canapés. This was be a valuable opportunity to meet and discuss Synthetic Biology challenges and research interests with the other members of the network ahead of the main workshop scheduled for the 14 – 16 September 2009. Jörg Stelling, Professor for Bioinformatics of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich giving an overview talk on Computational Engineering of Synthetic Circuits.
3.00 - 3.30 pm: Introduction by Dr Antonis Papachristodoulou, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford and Prof Judith Armitage, Department of Biochemistry and Director of the Oxford Centre for Integrative Systems Biology, University of Oxford
3.30 - 4.30 pm Computational Engineering of Synthetic Circuits. Prof Jörg Stelling, Professor for Bioinformatics of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich.
4.30 - 5.00 pm Discussion on Network Challenges.
5.00 - 6.00 pm Drinks and canapés.
Abstract of main talk
Computational Engineering of Synthetic Circuits
Ultimately, synthetic biology aims at establishing novel, useful biological functions by suitably combining well-characterized parts. Especially when complex circuits – in terms of the number of components and interactions involved, or with respect to the dynamic behavior – are to be designed, computational engineering methods have to be an integral part of the approach. This talk will focus on engineering concepts to achieve scalability and robustness (relative insensitivity to external or internal perturbations of the designed circuits). Both are important concerns for the field because the biology-based parts employed are not (yet) well-characterized, the circuits have to operate in a noisy (cellular) environment, and they cannot be completely isolated from, e.g., a cellular context. More specifically, major open issues exist regarding (i) principles of circuits design with standardized parts, and (ii) principles for the design of robust performance of synthetic circuits. ‘Classical’ synthetic genetic circuits as well as a tunable synthetic oscillator in mammalian cells will be discussed as prototypical examples to illustrate our current capabilities. In perspective, synthetic approaches do not only have the potential of major impacts in different application areas, but also present challenging problems for engineering design.