ACS Synthetic Biology Report: Synthetic Biology for Natural Products conference

The Synthetic Biology for Natural Products conference took place 05 to 08 March 2017 in the luxurious Fiesta Americana Condesa resort in Cancun, Mexico.

Chaired by scientific organisers David Mead (Varigen Biosciences), Claes Gustafsson (ATUM) and Michael Thomas (University of Wisconsin-Madison), the meeting covered the interface of (Meta)Genomics, Machine Learning, and Natural Product Discovery.

Conference synopsis: 

Genome sequencing has revealed an enormous biosynthetic capacity for microbial natural products, only a small fraction of which are represented in fermentation-based screens. Synthetic biology tools are being developed to translate the encoded diversity of microbial biosynthetic pathways into novel compounds and natural products. The Synthetic Biology for Natural Products conference will blend these disciplines with the goal of generating new platforms, tools and technologies to capture, manipulate and engineer natural product genes and pathways. Converting this vast untapped (meta)genomic diversity into novel chemical leads for biomedical and agricultural applications will require breakthroughs in design, scale and biologics that currently limit the field.

Key Sessions included (meta)genomics-enabled natural product discovery, advances in heterologous expression & screening technologies and designing genes & circuits for novel products and yield improvement.

The meeting had fantastic attendance from delegates all over the world. It is a testament to how important the topic of Synthetic Biology for Natural Products is, to see people arriving from the United Kingdom, Japan, China, Norway and many more places for the Fusion conference. The meeting included both informal and formal discussions, many coffee breaks, networking drinks and a poster session. The conference was tied up by a fantastic Gala dinner where Samantha Carpenter from NC State University was presented with a prize for 1st place poster.

The conference sponsor, ACS Synthetic Biology, have published a report of the SBNP conference, by authors Michael Thomas (conference chair) and Michael Smanski (conference speaker). You can read it here.

A big thank you to the chairs, David Mead, Claes Gustafsson and Michael Thomas, all speakers, session chairs, delegates and sponsor ACS Synthetic Biology for ensuring this meeting was such a huge success.

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