Synthetic Biology for Regenerative Medicine Workshop

NOTE: This workshop is an ONLINE EVENT

Advances in synthetic biology are presenting new opportunities to tailor cell function to develop novel regenerative medicine therapies. Harnessing the potential of synthetic biology for regenerative medicine demands an understanding of synthetic biology techniques, tools and the design rationale for effective synthetic gene circuits, as well as a broader appreciation of the translational applications and the potential societal impacts this powerful technology can bring.

The Stem Cell Network is excited to offer a brand new online three-day workshop focused on synthetic biology.  The workshop is designed to introduce stem cell and regenerative medicine researchers to the background, technical skillsets, potential applications and ethical considerations of synthetic biology using talks from expert speakers in the field complemented by group discussions and coursework. The live talks, discussions and attendee coursework/presentations will be held each Tuesday over a three-week period on November 24, December 1 and December 8, 2020. The workshop includes talks from leading Canadian and International synthetic biology experts, including:

  • Jacob Becraft, Strand Therapeutics
  • Yvonne Chen, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Mo Ebrahimkhani, University of Pittsburgh
  • Leonardo Morsut, University of Southern California
  • Keith Pardee, University of Toronto
  • Vardit Ravitsky, University of Montréal
  • Nika Shakiba, University of British Columbia
  • Nozomu Yachie, University of British Columbia
  • Peter Zandstra, University of British Columbia

Who Should Attend?
The Synthetic Biology workshop is designed for stem cell biologists (and other end users) who are seeking to develop an understanding of the concepts, techniques and applications of synthetic biology.

Workshop Learning Objectives
This workshop will introduce attendees to the exciting and interdisciplinary field of synthetic biology through interactive lectures and a collaborative design project. Attendees will learn about the foundational principles of the field as well as recent advancements in research and biotechnology. Students will also gain hands-on experience in the design and construction of simple genetic circuits by assembling standardized DNA parts using a modular cloning approach (using Benchling software).

The course will provide:

  • An introduction to the central goals and paradigms of the field, including a brief history
  • An exploration of recent and exciting synthetic biology research for health and disease
  • An understanding of the modular cloning pipeline, enabling standardized assembly of using a library of DNA parts
  • Experience with the high-level design and function of simple genetic circuits that provide novel sense-process-respond functions in cells
  • Technical experience with the in silico assembly of the DNA parts involved in simple genetic circuits using Benchling software
  • An overview of technical considerations and challenges for DNA parts delivery and validation in mammalian stem cell systems
  • An introduction to the commercialization of synthetic biology technologies.
  • An introduction to the ethical and social issues that accompany the use of synthetic biology technologies

The workshop is organized by Drs. Keith Pardee (University of Toronto), Nika Shakiba and Nozomu Yachie (University of British Columbia).

Workshop Format and Dates:  The workshop will consist of online sessions to be held each Tuesday on November 24, December 1 and December 8, 2020. The workshop will include coursework assignments and group presentations from the attendees. Participants must commit to attending all online sessions, completing coursework and contributing to the group presentations.

Workshop Location: This is an online workshop. A link to the online sessions will be provided to successful applicants.

Application Deadline: Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Application Procedure
Due to the interactive nature of this training event, places on this online workshop are limited; all those interested in participating must submit an application to attend the Synthetic Biology workshop by Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

Selected applicants will be notified by Thursday, November 12, 2020, and will be instructed on how to proceed with registration for the workshop.


  • Application deadline is 11:59 PM (sender’s time) Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  • SCN will also cover the workshop registration fee (paid directly to the organizers).

 Eligibility for the SCN Award:

  • Applicants must be a SCN trainee / highly qualified personnel (HQP) (i.e. a graduate student, post-doc, research associate and/or technician currently working in the field of stem cells and regenerative medicine in a Canadian lab.)
  • If you’re unsure whether you are a SCN HQP, please email Rebecca Cadwalader at rcadwalader@stemcellnetwork.ca for confirmation.
  • Applicants must be working on a research project related to stem cells.
  • Applicants must clearly demonstrate that they will apply the techniques learned at the course to their own stem cell research project within one year.

 Application Procedure:

  1. Complete the application form and return it, along with any additional documents required, by email to rcadwalader@stemcellnetwork.ca by 11:59 PM (sender’s time) Tuesday, November 3, 2020.
  2. The SCN Training & Education Committees will review all complete applications, and applicants will be informed of the competition outcome by Thursday, November 12, 2020

Workshop Requirements:
Participants must have a computer with a microphone and a web camera, and a high-speed internet connection. Participants will also need to register for free software tools before attending the workshop and will be advised of what software is required following their registration in the workshop. A second monitor or screen will be required to enable participants to simultaneously use the software tools and view the workshop video stream.

Reporting and Communication Requirements:
By accepting a place on this workshop, the recipient agrees to provide a report describing the value of the training opportunities made available through the award. This information will be used at SCN’s discretion on its website, newsletters and for the purpose of reporting to their funding agencies.

For further information on this workshop or for application related enquiries please contact either Jon Draper (jdraper@stemcellnetwork.ca) or Rebecca Cadwalader at rcadwalader@stemcellnetwork.ca

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