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News Digest #249 – Neuroscience and AI, Pivot and Ginkgo news


SynBioBeta Digest

Your guide to what’s new in synthetic biology

Hi all,

At SynBioBeta 2018, MIT brain research pioneer Ed Boyden talked with NEO.LIFE’s Jane Metcalfe and OS Fund’s Bryan Johnson about his views for a neobiological revolution — including his work toward brain prostheses. Read our overview of the conversation here.

In ag news, Pivot Bio and Bayer announced a collaboration to develop microbes with enhanced nitrogen production for U.S. soybean growers. The project will help farmers be more productive while reducing their environmental footprint; field testing of the first microbes could take place as early as 2021.

In health news, Ginkgo Bioworks and Glycosyn announced a $14 million deal to scale the production of human milk oligosaccharides for products that foster a healthy gut microbiome. In the deal, Ginkgo will provide Glycosyn with $14 million and access to their Bioworks foundries in exchange for equity in Glycosyn. “At current capacity, a biological engineer working with the foundry can accomplish nearly 25 times more than was possible using traditional by-hand methods, a number that continues to increase as Ginkgo grows and its foundry technologies improve”, according to a press release.

Jason Kelly, CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks, and Karsten Temme, CEO of Pivot Bio at SynBioBeta.

Can we save the prized bluefin tuna, and its habitat, by growing it in a lab? Over on the east side of the San Francisco Bay, where Finless Foods has its offices, the seven-person team has figured out how to grow three kinds of tissues from bluefin stem cells: muscle, fat and connective tissue.

Finally, if you were at SynBioBeta 2018, you will remember this project by Designer Animator Vasil Hnatiuk that is spreading synthetic biology into the sci-fi communities. It explores a future where the outcome of genetic engineering can be beneficial to us as well as aesthetically beautiful. Contact me if you’d like an introduction to Vasil about commissioning your own awesome animation like this.

Have a great week!


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Who's hiring?

Who’s hiring?

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Feature your job here →


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