The first BlueBio4Future Short Course in Synthetic Biology consisted of a three-day experience of learning. On the first day, the ERA chair action team members Eunice Ferreira, Konrad Biehrig, Paulo Oliveira, and Pedro Leão taught the students the fundamentals of synthetic biology, with assistance from Paul D’Agostino on the particular context of the SLIC-DiPAC approach.
The second day’s opening remarks were made by Julie Zedler of the University of Jena (Germany), who explained how (re-)organizing enzymes in the cellular environment might significantly increase the metabolic flux toward an interesting product and, consequently, develop cyanobacterial biotechnology.
Then, Paul D’Agostino from Dresden University of Technology (Germany) gave a presentation to the audience on how DiPaC might one day be an essential method for capturing biosynthetic gene clusters and building metabolic pathways, with important implications for the functional characterization of novel natural product pathways.
After lunch, we met with Vincent Libis, an INSERM researcher in Paris (France), who shared his more technological perspective on the exploration of sequencing and bioinformatics techniques that enable the prioritization of biosynthetic genes predicted to encode new metabolites. Cloning and heterologous expression of such genes can speed up the discovery of therapeutically relevant molecules.
The last speaker of the day, Stephen Wallace from the University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom) demonstrated how synthetic biology can be used to allow the bioconversion of plastic waste into industrial chemicals that are currently produced from fossil fuels, as well as how synthetic biology and synthetic chemistry can be combined to allow the use of abiotic chemistry in living cells.
The final day of the course involved a hackathon where the students developed projects using synthetic biology approaches on the topics of Natural Products, Biocatalysis, Biosensors, Bioremediation, and Minimal Cells.
We thank the committed learners who made this course a success and the invited speakers for sharing their enlightening science!