Home » Health and medicine » Diagnostics » News Digest #241 – Targeting breast cancer with CRISPR, the new neuro, scaling up industrial fermentation, and more. (sponsored by Twist Bioscience)

News Digest #241 – Targeting breast cancer with CRISPR, the new neuro, scaling up industrial fermentation, and more. (sponsored by Twist Bioscience)



Hi all,

Una Ryan will be showcasing her amazing biologically inspired artwork this Sunday night at the San Francisco Art Institute. It kicks off at 5.30pm with a reception thanks to our wonderful event sponsor Maya Skubatch at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati before. Then at 7pm we’ll be screening the movie GATTACA. All this is part of our kick off of Synthetic Biology Week, a celebration of free events throughout the Bay Area!

Other synthetic biology events include: A Golden Gate Assembly, a free hands-on workshop with Opentrons and another with Labcyte, a breakfast with Mintz Levin on empowering women changemakers, and a VC perspective on synthetic biology in the Salesforce Tower (SemiSynBio event).

If you came to SynBioBeta in 2015, then you’ll recognize the mushroom stage grown by Ecovative. If you’re coming in 2018 then be prepared for even more, and grander mycelium goodness!

We’ve also got new awards this year! Check out our write up of the winners here.

From the moment it was discovered, CRISPR-Cas9 has grabbed headlines with its ability to make precise gene edits — but the underlying principle of using guide RNA to target specific sequences opens up a broad range of possibilities beyond just editing single DNA segments. Twist Bioscience is leveraging guide RNA to target breast cancer by identifying mutations in PARP genes, which render cancer cells resistant to PARP inhibitors.

And while Cas9 is currently the most famous of the CRISPR proteins, it’s not the only one with exciting capabilities. This week, we interviewed Janice Chen, one of Mammoth Bioscience’s co-founders, about how they are using CRISPR technology—DETECTR—to revolutionize diagnostic medicine.

Two decades of breakthroughs in neuroscience and synthetic biology are merging, giving rise to new technologies that can potentially treat neurological diseases and even enhance cognitive abilities. What does this Neobiological Revolution have in store for us as individuals and as a society? We interviewed neuroscientist Ed Boyden, who will be speaking in a fireside chat with Bryan Johnson and Jane Metcalfe at SynBioBeta 2018.

Ed Boyden shows Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau his expansion microscopy technology.

In other news, full scale industrial fermentation is challenging and time-consuming. But one company, Conagen Inc., is bringing products from design all the way up to full-scale production more rapidly through an integrated manufacturing process. You can learn more at our focus session: Scale-up partnerships for food, flavor, and fragrances (sponsored by Conagen) at SynBioBeta 2018. We will examine four different companies’ approaches to addressing the scalability issue: small-molecule fatty acids, zero-calorie sweeteners, cow-less “milks,” and chicken-less “eggs”.

Finally, we examine how The UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology is working to raise the profile of Edinburgh as the leading location in Europe for research and innovation in mammalian cell engineering.

I hope to see you at SynBioBeta!


U of T startup that turns food waste into high-quality bio-plastic eyes next phase of growth
Scientists just showed how to drive malaria mosquitoes to extinction
GLOBAL BIOENERGIES announces a private placement for €6.2 million
Intrexon announces advances in production of medical cannabis
University spin-out company to develop new antibiotics
Calyxt appoints CEO, Jim Blome, former President & CEO of Bayer CropScience

CustoMem has developed a novel bio-based adsorbent material that can selectively capture micropollutants

Researchers unlock secrets of enzyme blocking HIV using Twist Bioscience’s oligo pools

WuXi Biologics appoints Harvard Professor David R. Liu to scientific advisory board (Press release)

Synthetic Biology Week Events

BioBuilder presents a hands-on workshop, encouraging young scientists to put on their goggles and gloves to explore the future through synthetic biology (October 6 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am)

How do startups collaborate with corporations? (Digital Garage) (October 1 @ 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm)

Introduction to the Echo® Liquid Handler and Acoustic TXTL Circuit Optimization (October 4 @ 10:00 am – 11:30 am)

Miniaturized Nextera XT for Efficient NGS Using the Echo Liquid Handler (October 4 @ 12:30 pm – 2:00 pm)

Who’s Hiring?

Senior Scientist, Fungal Strain Engineering: LifeMine, Cambridge, MA

Synthetic Biologist: bioMASON, Research Triangle Park, NC

Research Associate – Molecular Microbiology: bioMASON, Research Triangle Park, NC

Program Manager, Catalyst Science Fund: Revive & Restore, San Francisco, CA

Chemoinformatics Scientist: DiCE Molecules, Redwood City, CA

Principal Scientist, Automation Engineer, Hardware Engineer, Software Architect: CATALOG, Boston, MA

Postdoctoral Associate: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Synthetic Biology Center, Cambridge, MA USA

Anaerobic Microbiology Lead: Eligo Bioscience, Paris, France

Anaerobe Engineer: Eligo Bioscience, Paris, France

Scientist, Microbiologist: Pivot Bio, Berkeley, CA

To feature your job here, please get in touch

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