Now available, Drew Endy’s Keynote talk from SynBioBeta London 2017. Interested in more videos like Drew’s? You can watch more of the action from the event if you become a SynBioBeta member. Already a member? Some of the videos have already been posted here, and we will continue to add more each week. The advantages of becoming a member include discounted access to all SynBioBeta conferences and access to the synthetic biology industry database that includes over 450 companies.
During his keynote at SynBioBeta London 2017, Drew Endy, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University, highlighted “the importance of the public’s understanding of the sector referencing the recent yes-vote in a Florida county on the use of GM mosquitoes to fight Zika. To tackle fears and preconceived ideas of the community, the pro-campaigners engaged with local communities by going door-to-door and organising town hall meetings with experts. Endy emphasised that the sector should learn from this type of successful grassroot-engagement, reminding us that we cannot rely on technology to get our messages across but instead we need to get face-to-face with people and connect. We need to understand why people feel the way they do, to be able to build bridges between sectors and ideologies in order to overcome fears.”
“We need personal DNA synthesisers,” he said. “Centralised manufacturing services are great but I want to go anywhere in the world,” he explained. But then how can we address the growing concerns and policy demands which synthetic biology has accumulated in the last decade? Solving this cultural conundrum is no mean feat, and although Drew stressed he didn’t have a definite solution, “taking infectious diseases off of the table, and instead returning to a literacy framework,” might help.
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