Graduate Old Members’ Trust Travel Report – Jorin Riexinger (2020, DPhil Chemical Biology)
SynCell is an annual conference that focuses on latest advancements in bottom-up synthetic biology and cellular engineering. This year, the conference was held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA, from May 22nd-24th 2023. The diverse talks focused on ways to mimic different aspects of life, such as artificial cell-like compartments and cell-free translation systems. Importantly, some researchers also presented their views related to ethics, biosafety and future implications of this rising scientific field.
While key note speakers gave fascinating lectures in the morning, afternoon sessions were split into three parallel sessions, each of which focused on different aspects of synthetic cell engineering. An extensive poster session gave researchers and students the opportunity to showcase their work through informative posters, offering an opportunity for interactive discussions and collaborations. During the meeting, working groups were formed with the goal to develop short perspective papers on safety, reproducibility, applications and ethics. I joined the working group that focused on potential applications of synthetic cell engineering, in particular ways to deliver therapeutics. The collaboration was extremely useful, not only to promote further exchange of ideas with experts, but also to strengthen connections.
As part of one of the speakers’ sessions, I had the pleasure of presenting parts of my PhD project, which focuses on the interaction between 3D-printed synthetic tissues and living cells. It was great to receive positive feedback and discuss potential ideas for future directions of our work. Overall, the SynCell 2023 was a memorable experience and I am thrilled to follow forthcoming advancements in the field. I am grateful for the support of the Old Members’ Trust Travel Fund, which made it possible for me to attend this conference.
Published: 4 October 2023