Synthetic Biology for Regenerative Medicine Workshop

Please note: This course will be offered as an in-person event, held at the University of British Columbia. Attendees will have to comply with UBC campus rules for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 when attending the course.

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 five-day in-person 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 through the on-site lab course work, talks from experts, and group discussions. The workshop will be held in-person at the University of British Columbia between February 20 and February 24, 2023 and run by leading Canadian synthetic biology experts:

Workshop Learning Objectives
This workshop will introduce attendees to the exciting and interdisciplinary field of synthetic biology through interactive lectures and laboratory training. 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, construction and testing of simple genetic circuits.

The course will provide:

  • A description of synthetic biology, positioning it within the context of historical advancements in genetic engineering as well as the long-term vision of the field.
  • An exploration of recent and exciting synthetic biology research for health and disease
  • 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 assembly of simple genetic circuits in the lab.
  • Application of qualitative and quantitative experimental approaches to assess the quality and performance of the genetic device (spectrophotometry, restriction digestion and gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing, mammalian cell transfection, fluorescent imaging, flow cytometry).
  • An overview of technical considerations and challenges for DNA delivery and validation in mammalian stem cell systems.

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. Attendees should be familiar with basic lab skills (pipetting, use of biosafety cabinets, etc.) and able to follow protocols independently. Preference will be given to those with experience in molecular biology (cloning, bacterial transformation, PCR, etc.).

 Workshop Format and Dates:  The workshop will consist of in-person training held at the University of British Columbia between February 20 and 24, 2023. The workshop will include readings to be completed in advance of the course start date. Participants must commit to completing all readings and attending all in-person sessions.

 Workshop Location: School of Biomedical Engineering Teaching Lab, University of British Columbia

Application Procedure:

  1. Complete the application form here by Thursday, December 22, 2022 at 5 p.m. (sender’s time).
  2. Provide a full letter of support from your current supervisor detailing how your attendance will benefit your research and the lab’s stem cell research program as a whole. Letters should be e-mailed by supervisors directly to Ellie Arnold, at the same time you submit your application documents.
    A confirmation email will be sent within 24 hours of SCN receiving the submitted support letter. If a confirmation email is NOT received from SCN within 24 hours of submission, it is the responsibility of the applicant to contact SCN and ensure that all application materials have been received by SCN.
  3. The SCN Training & Education Committee will review all complete applications, and applicants will be informed of the competition outcome by January 11, 2023.


  • The SCN award will cover travel expenses associated with attending the course, for trainees not based in Vancouver:
    • Travel to/from the course location
    • Up to six nights accommodation at our designated hotel (the night before the course, days 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 with departure on the day after the course)
    • Meals not provided during the course
  • Successful applicants will be automatically registered for the course by the Stem Cell Network upon confirmation of their acceptance of the award.
  • Reimbursement will be processed following the course, in accordance with the SCN Travel Booking & Reimbursement Policy (policy will be provided to the selected applicants).
  • Accommodation during the course will be provided for trainees not based in Vancouver.

Eligibility for the SCN Award:

  • Applicants must be a highly qualified personnel (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.
  • Applicants must clearly demonstrate that they will apply the techniques learned at the course to their own research project within one year.
  • If you’re unsure whether you are eligible, please email Ellie Arnold at for confirmation.

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

By accepting the SCN award attendees also accept to have their pictures taken during the course, which may be used in the reporting tools mentioned above.

Please note that expense reimbursement will be processed only once the post-event survey is completed.

For further information, please contact Ellie Arnold at


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