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Sydney Science Forum: Synthetic Biology - The next gen of GM



5 August 2011

Imagine if we could make cells that would help us tackle today's challenges - cells that could clean up oil spills, produce fuel, break down waste and even improve our health. Find out how Synthetic Biology is allowing scientists to reprogramme life from manufactured genomes, at Dr Jim Haseloff's free Sydney Science Forum talk at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 10 August 2011.

Once only possible in the realm of sci-fi and scientists' dreams, the ability to engineer new life forms is tantalisingly close to being a reality.

Find out how Synthetic Biology is allowing scientists to reprogramme life from manufactured genomes, when Dr Jim Haseloff, from the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge, gives his free Sydney Science Forum talk at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 10 August 2011. (This image is from Dr Haseloff's lab and shows the fluorescent stained stem of a plant.)
Find out how Synthetic Biology is allowing scientists to reprogramme life from manufactured genomes, when Dr Jim Haseloff, from the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge, gives his free Sydney Science Forum talk at the University of Sydney on Wednesday 10 August 2011. (This image is from Dr Haseloff's lab and shows the fluorescent stained stem of a plant.)

Find out what this new approach in biology will mean for the future, when Dr Jim Haseloff, from the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Cambridge, gives his free public talk.

"Synthetic Biology goes beyond traditional genetic modification of inserting a single gene into an organism, to using formal engineering principles for construction of genetically programmed biological systems," explained Dr Haseloff.

"It's a new way of building organisms, as it entails the adoption of engineering principles of standardisation, abstraction and decoupling in biological construction," said Dr Haseloff.

"The new approach to reprogramming biological systems offers exciting potential for improving sustainable technologies, new feedstocks and therapies."

Dr Haseloff will reveal how research on plant genetics is paving the way for the ability to engineer plants with specialised features for producing food, fuels, biomass, polymers and drugs.

Outlining the scope of the new field, Dr Haseloff will lead us through the international research on Synthetic Biology in microbial and plant systems.

"The field of Synthetic Biology is still very young, still being defined and still coming together, but it's a paradigm shift in the way we regard and work with biological systems," said Dr Haseloff.

"While recombinant DNA technology has advanced at a rapid pace over the last 35 years, the cloning and assembly of synthetic DNA sequences remains a largely bespoke affair. The field is in a situation similar to mechanical engineering in the early 1800s and microelectronics in the early 1950s, when rapid progress required the adoption of standardised interchangeable parts and modular construction methods."

"Engineers were then free to reap the benefits of abstraction and decoupling to accelerate the design process, and aid the development of new parts and subsystems. These issues are even more pressing for the design of living systems," explained Dr Hasseloff.

"There are huge pressures to move away from our current reliance on non-renewable resources for energy and materials, and to improve food sources and environmental quality. Synthetic Biology can help us design organisms that can provide solutions to these problems."

Dr Jim Haseloff will reveal how research on plant genetics is paving the way for the ability to engineer plants with specialised features for producing food, fuels, biomass, polymers and drugs. (This image is from Dr Haseloff's lab and shows the growing tip of a plant root, treated with a fluorescent stain.)
Dr Jim Haseloff will reveal how research on plant genetics is paving the way for the ability to engineer plants with specialised features for producing food, fuels, biomass, polymers and drugs. (This image is from Dr Haseloff's lab and shows the growing tip of a plant root, treated with a fluorescent stain.)

Taking us on a journey into hyper-coloured plants cells through his award-winning images, Dr Haseloff will explore the exciting future of the science that is changing life as we know it.

"We have lots of beautiful images, as we develop and use advanced imaging and computer software tools for visualising the behaviour of intact microbial and plant systems."

The lecture will be followed by a variety of related interactive demonstrations and experiments as well as a cocktail reception.

Read more about Dr Jim Haseloff and Synthetic Biology at: www.haseloff-lab.org and www.synbio.org.uk

Sydney Science Forum: Synthetic Biology - The next gen of GM

Date: Wednesday 10 August 2011
Time: 5:45pm - 6:45pm
Location: Eastern Avenue Auditorium, University of Sydney
Cost: Free
Bookings:www.sydney.nicheit.com.au/science/science_forum/


Contact: Katynna Gill

Phone: 02 9351 6997

Email: 021244010b1b0267562b20182f463b21162e214a37161001043d