SBE Update: The Blossoming Field of Plant Synthetic Biology


Synthetic biology can be broadly defined as technologies that accelerate the process of genetically engineering biological systems. Although the field encompasses both plant and mammalian cells, in recent years, research has targeted mainly mammalian cells.

To serve the needs of the growing number of engineers in this field, SBE offered the first Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution, and Design (SEED) conference in 2014. The annual conference series now draws an attendance of nearly 500 people. The conference addresses the many topics within genetic engineering and highlights the development of new tools, as well as the application of these tools to diverse problems in biotechnology, therapeutics, industrial chemicals and fuels, and natural products.

Because the SEED conference has grown to such a large size, and because many of its attendees focus mainly on engineering mammalian, yeast, and bacterial cells, SBE decided to offer a new conference specifically for the niche field of plant engineering. SBE members created the first International Conference on Plant Synthetic Biology and Bioengineering (ICPSBB), which was held Dec. 16–18, 2016. The conference involved high-caliber keynotes and invited speakers, and was generously funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE), which view plant synthetic biology as an emerging...

Author Bios: 

Gabriel Levesque-Tremblay

Dr. Gabriel Levesque-Tremblay the Director for Technical Entities and Grants. Prior to joining AIChE, Dr. Levesque-Tremblay was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at University of California, Berkeley (UCB) working on Synthetic Biology Projects at the Energy Biosciences Institute. He holds a PhD from University of British Columbia (UBC), a Master and a Bachelor in Science from University of Quebec in Montreal.

At AIChE Dr. Levesque-Tremblay supports the strategic activities of 12 executive boards and societies including the Society for Biological Engineering (SBE), the Institute for...Read more

Darlene Schuster

Darlene Schuster is responsible for the successful implementation of AIChE conferences, publications,  educational AIChE Academy, membership programs and membership groups, and growth of AIChE impact to serve members in areas of relevance to chemical engineering.  Previously she was the executive director of the Technical Entities of AIChE, including the Institute for Sustainability, Society for Biological Engineering, the International Society for Metabolic Engineering, and the start-up entities. Schuster joined AIChE as director of government relations and headed AIChE’s...Read more

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