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We want to better engage with the public about why we are interested in pursuing synthetic biology and who is doing this work. So we launched the #meetsynbio project, which aims to put the real people behind synthetic biology in touch with the real people in our community whom we endeavor to benefit. This will give scientists and the broader public an opportunity to share their motivations and concerns about how we can together shape the responsible advancement of #synbio to solve important problems in the world.

How can I participate?
We invite you to participate in #meetsynbio by tweeting a photo of yourself. If you're a researcher, you can include a short blurb about your work, interactions with people about science, or your personal interests. If you're a public participant, you can take a picture of yourself at a science museum, with a scientist, using something made with biotech, or just ask a question or express a thought.

Why should you participate in #meetsynbio ?
Maxx Chatsko makes the case for expressing the personal side of synthetic biology.
Jay #meetsynbio

Example tweets:


Upcoming opportunities to #meetsynbio in real life:

Conversations about Synthetic Biology partnering with ArtSocial - Paint with Pipettes!! SF Skyline, Monday, February 29, 2016, 6:00 - 9:00 PM, Emeryville, CA - Chevys Fresh Mex - 1890 Powell Street, Emeryville, CA 91502

Learn how to paint your own orginal masterpiece using a micro-pipette and brushes with paint & ink. Your instructor will guide you through the different techniques you may use to create a completely unique painting on watercolor paper. In this unique class we'll learn how to use a pipette as an art tool, and gain more information on how they are used in science.

A micro-pipette is a laboratory tool commonly used in biology to transport a measured volume of liquid. What happens when you fill it with paint or ink? Come find out and get creative. And enjoy the opportunity to paint with scientists working at the frontiers of biological engineering! In partnership withArtSocial. Event fee = $35/person. Register here! 

Stay tuned for more events!

Past Events:

Conversations about Synthetic Biology (Cafe Valparaiso, Albany, CA, December 2)
Synberc's second Conversations about Synthetic Biology event took place in partnership with Science@Cal on December 2 at Cafe Valparaiso in Albany, CA. The night featured guest scientists/engineers, Nathan Hillson, Director of Synthetic Biology, Joint BioEnergy Institute, Alyssa Rosebloom, Postdoctoral Researcher in Molecular and Cellular Biology at UC Berkeley and Danielle Tullman-Ercek, Professor of Chemical Engineering at UC Berkeley. The scientists briefly provided their perspectives about the field, and the audience was invited to share its thoughts through informal conversation and small group discussions. The event also had informal time for members of the public to mingle with the presenters, and learn about synthetic biology through some materials from the Building With Biology project (see below). We also invited participants' ideas for how to improve and sustain this important conversation between scientists and the general public. It was a night of good food and good conversation!

Synthetic Biology 101: An evening of casual science conversations (American Society for Microbiology, 1752 N Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20036) The ASM hosted a fun evening of casual & friendly science to learn more! Attendees spoke with bioengineers, tried a bit of hands-on microbiology, and learned about how future biotechnology could help make new energy sources, medicines, and food. At the event, participants: 

  • Heard a big picture view of synthetic biology.
  • Took a "cellfie" with their smartphone.
  • Extracted DNA from a strawberry and observed how scientists analyze DNA through a gel.
  • Understood how bioengineers are able to have bacteria express the DNA they are interested in. Created different colors of bacteria and yeast fortified with vitamin A.
  • Learned how vaccines are developed and how bioengineering provides new protections against disease.

The event was co-sponsored by BUGGS (Baltimore UnderGround Science Space), along with scientific experts from the Wilson Center.

Conversations about Synthetic Biology (LabCentral, 700 Main Street, Cambridge, MA 02139, Friday, September 18)
The evening had informal time for members of the public to mingle with synthetic biologists from Synberc, and learn about synthetic biology through some materials from the Boston Museum of Science Building With Biology project. A few individuals with different perspectives about the field spoke briefly and then the discussion opened up to consider personal responses and ways to continue the conversation, if desired. The conversation was co-moderated by Natalie Kuldell of MIT and David Sittenfeld of the Boston Museum of Science.

This is part of an ongoing series of events.

Building with Biology - activities and engagements
The Building with Biology project brought scientists and members of the public together at science centers and museums across the U.S. to learn about synthetic biology and engage in a two-way conversation with researchers about the societal implications of this fast-growing field. Pilot Building with Biology events this summer included:

This project will be expanding to 200 sites in the summer of 2016.

London iGEM Mini Jamboree 
The UCL, Birkbeck and Biohackspace iGEM (a large synthetic biology competition) teams presented their work and the plans for the summer.

Several iGEM teams incorporate outreach and public engagement into their activities to explain the research that they are conducting. Read more about iGEM to learn about the organization and the undergraduate synthetic biology research competition.

Cal Academy NightLife - Synthetic Dance-ology
A scientist and a dancer partner to translate synthetic biology into a creative, engaging activity. 

Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) on synthetic biology
A discussion with an eclectic group of researchers, industry professionals, and educators working in the field of synthetic biology. Topics include safety, DIY bio, public perception, and some cool examples of synbio research.

Programming Life: The Revolutionary Potential of Synthetic Biology
A panel of experts discussed how synthetic biology is leading to new drugs, chemicals, and fuels, the social and economic implications of synthetic biology, ethical and environmental challenges of synthetic biology, and a look ahead at what might be possible 20 years from now.

#meetsynbio partners

The Tech