Please enjoy a posting of another of our backlogged talks, as Ben Busby of National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) discusses where we are at in the world of personalized medicine using genomic data. Yet another great experience, where we all learned about the latest thinking in how data is applied to your health. (Although this talk was given in January, so I dont know how late this thinking still is) Once again, not exactly a TED talk, as we went late into the evening, getting something beyond the soundbite. A very important topic, and a terrific speaker.
This was a great lead-in to the Build-a-Gene sessions Dr Glass had a very generous spirit and seemed to truly believe in the potential of DIY bio. As usual, our audience was very engaged (and engaging) Another talk with q and a that lasted quite awhile. No pretensions, just a conversation with a really great guy . You're welcome.
There's a bit of a backlog of recorded talks, and we'll do our best to get them up soon.
Dr Lisa Scheifele continues the hands-on course to create your own synthetic DNA. In her words
"Since the Human Genome Project, scientists have become masters at reading the genetic code. But now, new technologies allow us to not only read DNA sequences, but also to write the genetic code! Scientists now regularly custom design and then synthesize short DNA sequence and are pioneering techniques to assemble larger custom genes and genomes. This unprecedented ability to create and manipulate living organisms has opened new frontiers in our ability to create life in the lab."
In the remaining sessions of the “Build-a-Gene” class, we will learn and practice the techniques that synthetic biologists use in genome synthesis, including creation of synthetic genes, assembly of larger DNA fragments by Gibson Assembly, and the use of yeast cells for gene assembly. In
addition to lab work, we will be discussing this brave new frontier in biological engineering- how this technology is currently being used to redesign cells and systems, and how society should respond to and regulate this new field. Join us as we learn to synthesize new genes from
These sessions are designed to give a good survey of synthetic biology techniques while doing an interesting project. While we encourage you to take as many sessions as you can, each session can stand on its own. You do not need to commit to all the sessions to enjoy the experience. There are no prerequisites!"
The course has been filling quite fast. Build-a-Gene 2 sold out in just a few minutes, before we posted any blurbs. As of this posting, are still a few seats in the remaining sessions. Add yourself to the waitlist if the session is sold out. The remaining sessions will be on August 9, 23, and 30 all at 9:00 AM to 1 PM. Cost is $65 per session, free to members. If you have any questions, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please register using these links:
A few people (you know who you are) have been wanting to work on new or cost-improved medical devices at BUGSS. What about lowly makers who just want to build (or maybe sell) a fun little piece of medical hackerware? Well, here, at last, is someone who can give us the skivvy on what it takes to actually offer new medical (or diagnostic) devices for sale. Blix Winston is a local consultant who shepherds medical device dreams through the FDA regulatory process. In Blix's words:
"FDA’s establishment registration requirement has to be met once a medical device is offered for sale in the U.S. but there are other requirements that come into play well before registration occurs. Obtaining marketing clearance or approval may be needed but there is a less obvious requirement that many start-up companies miss as they begin to develop their ideas into prototypes or working models; it is a part of the Quality Systems, or GMP, regulation. GMPs are usually thought of as applying to production processes which of course they do. But the Design Controls portion of the Quality Systems regulation applies as soon as you start conceptualizing or discussing a new device or start making even the most rudimentary drawings. Failing to develop and implement Design Controls at the outset can cause headaches later on."
"Navigating the FDA regulatory process can turn into a costly process both in terms of resources and time. To minimize those costs it helps to develop a basic understanding of how the regulatory process works so that you can anticipate and plan for what is coming and how it will affect your company. In this evening’s session I’ll take you through an outline of the regulatory process starting with how FDA classifies medical devices. Classification determines the regulatory pathway and is key to everything from planning the kinds and amount of resources you are going to need, deciding whether clinical trials may be in the picture, planning for and obtaining FDA permission to go to market, determining if GMPs apply to your device, etc. I’ll share the knowledge I’ve developed through 30 years of working in FDA, teaching FDA regulatory requirements at the graduate and corporate level, and consulting to the medical device industry both here and abroad. My intention is to have an interactive meeting rather than a formal presentation format."
Everyone welcome Wednesday, July 16th at 7 pm. FREE of course. You're free to bring your ideas on whatever new-fangled medical quackery you can come up with. RSVP here!
We had a great talk by John Glass, who was a principal on the team who, after about 15 years and 40 million dollars, synthetically created a bacteria genome. Well now we have Lisa Scheifele. (Yeah, she has a PhD) Lisa was on the team that very recently created the first synthetic chromosome in a "higher" organism (yeast) whose cells contain nuclei (eukaryote), unlike bacteria. And Lisa is doing more than talking. In her words
" Since the Human Genome Project, scientists have become masters at reading the genetic code. But now, new technologies allow us to not only read DNA sequences, but also to write the genetic code! Scientists now regularly custom design and then synthesize short DNA sequence and are pioneering techniques to assemble larger custom genes and genomes. This unprecedented ability to create and manipulate living organisms has opened new frontiers in our ability to create life in the lab.
In this 5-session “Build-a-Gene” class, we will learn and practice the techniques that synthetic biologists use in genome synthesis, including creation of synthetic genes, assembly of larger DNA fragments by Gibson Assembly, and the use of yeast cells for gene assembly. In addition to lab work, we will be discussing this brave new frontier in biological engineering- how this technology is currently being used to redesign cells and systems, and how society should respond to and regulate this new field. Join us as we learn to synthesize new genes from scratch!
In this first session we'll discuss different ways to customize gene sequences, and we'll assemble small DNA pieces into a gene-sized DNA segment. The five sessions are designed to give a good survey of synthetic biology techniques while doing an interesting project. While we encourage you to take all five sessions, each session can stand on its own. You do not need to commit to all five sessions to enjoy the experience. There are no prerequisites!"
The five sessions will be on Saturdays, July 12 and 26 and August 9, 23, and 30 all at 9:00 AM to 1 PM. For early registration, cost is $65 per session, free to members. 3 days before the session (July 9) the price goes up to $75 per session, and $10 to members. (this is to encourage early enrollment so that we can properly plan) Please Register HERE
As a lead-in to a series of classes (for the public) being offered this summer on gene synthesis from completely synthetic oligos, board member Dr Lisa Scheifele has brought in a premier scientist to dazzle you. Hyperbole is woefully inadequate as we welcome John I. Glass, of the J. Craig Venter Institute, Rockville, MD & La Jolla, CA. In Dr Glass's words:
"In 2010, our team of synthetic biologists announced the creation of a bacterial cell that had a chemically synthesized genome. To build this synthetic Mycoplasma mycoides JCVI 1.0 we had to develop two sets of methods. The path to develop what we believe will be the foundation technologies of the field of Synthetic Genomics took ~150 man year and many twists and turns. We made the 1.1 Mbp M. mycoides genome using a series of new techniques for assembly of DNA molecules in vivo in yeast cells and in vitro. This process we called Genome Assembly. The other new technical repertoire is Genome Transplantation. We isolated our synthetic genome, which was cloned as a yeast artificial chromosome, and installed it into cells of a closely related bacterial species. We are currently eliminating all the genes in this organism not essential for growth in the laboratory. We expect to produce a cell with less than 400 protein-coding genes. This minimal bacterium will likely have about 100 genes of unknown function, and most of those will have homologous genes in most other bacteria. We plan to use this simple organism to investigate the fundamental principles of cellular life. The Synthetic Genomics technology developed from this effort will enable biologists to build both microbes as well as eukaryotic cells capable of solving human needs in medicine, bioenergy and industry. For instance we envision the same Genome Assembly and Genome Transplantation technologies used to build synthetic microbial cells could be used to make human artificial chromosomes and install them in cells for therapeutic and research purposes."
Definitely NOT average fare. This is your chance to hear from a key member of perhaps the most audacious group of scientists on the planet. This talk is designed to appeal to both the expert and the interested public, in the non TED talk conversational ambiance of our beloved biohackerspace. What are you waiting for? I don't mind telling you our till is low. RSVP (and donate if you can) HERE
What does design thinking have to do with biology you ask? Well come to BUGSS next Wednesday June 4th to find out.
The iGEM competition for which BUGSS has formed at team is more then just going through the technical steps of genetic construction. It's a different way of thinking and looking at biology-that biological systems aren't just something to be studied but are amenable to design and engineering. If you're going to design something it's a good idea to think about how to do that; the assumptions we make, the pitfalls that await and how we can sometimes get so absorbed in the details of setting up PCR reactions and so on that we forget what the goal of the project was. Anyway I think this talk and presentation by noted designer Laura Kimball will help bring in an added dimension to the BUGSS iGEM project that. Laura will take us through some exercises and give a short presentation on how thinking about design can lead to more effective and innovative solutions. As usual we start around 7 and everyone is welcome. Donations to support the BUGSS iGEM team are welcome but not necessary.
Thinking of joining BUGSS? Are the membership fees stopping you? Well have we got a deal for you. A generous grant from the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to BUGSS board member Dr. Lisa Scheifele provides for six 3month memberships at BUGSS! A great opportunity to take BUGSS for a spin (in a centrifuge of course), participate in the next Build-a-BUG class and get involved with some great people and projects. Two ways to apply
1. If you and Google have trust issues, click on the link to get to the application and forward it to email@example.com
2. Use the handy dandy online form by clicking the link below, and be done with it.
Deadline for application is JUNE 15th
Our good friends Matt and Nicole are about to set sail on yet another voyage of discovery-this time across the great Pacific ocean, nonstop! Follow their voyage at http://oceanresearchproject.org/ . We'll be helping Nicole analyze the samples brought back later this summer so stay tuned for further announcements. In the mean time keep these intrepid explorers in your thoughts and wish them fair winds and a safe journey.
Here's a graphic that depicts the route they anticipate taking. Notice there's a lot of empty ocean to cross from California to Japan and not many places to stop.
We are very pleased to announce our speaker, Dr David Karig, who thinks (and does) a lot about what goes wrong in the assembly of genetic components, a very timely discussion in light of iGEM coming up. In Dr Karig's words:
"Synthetic biology is poised to revolutionize various aspects of life and technology through advances in therapeutics, energy production, bioremediation, and agriculture. A major goal of the field is to apply engineering principles to the development of new biological systems. However, biological systems are notoriously difficult to engineer, stemming from challenges such as fitness effects, mutation, noise, and interference between engineered components and host machinery. Using examples from a variety of different synthetic systems, ranging from engineered E. coli to cell-free expression systems, I will talk about some of the common challenges that can be encountered when attempting to design and combine different genetic components. I’ll then discuss specific strategies that can be used to overcome these challenges, focusing on general principles and techniques that can be applied across a broad spectrum of different systems. Finally, I’ll talk about a few examples of synthetic systems from my own work, illustrating the potential of the field for both engineering applications and scientific exploration."
Snacks, soda, and libations of course.
Proceeds of this event will go to funding our iGEM team. All are welcome, but we would deeply appreciate a suggested donation of $10 (or more) to help fund our team. We really need all the help we can get. Spread the word! RSVP HERE
h/t Vince Glowacka
Note: This note has been changed. We regret any implication of endorsement, sanction, or affiliation with Dr. Karig's employer.