Annual Symposium 2024: Milestones in Microbiology

Invited speakers

Guy-Bart Stan (Imperial College London)

Engineering and Control of Living Cells and Synthetic Communities

In this talk I will give an overview of some of our research activities in the “Control Engineering Synthetic Biology” group, where we focus our efforts on increasing the robustness, performance, portability and genetic stability of synthetic biology systems implemented in living cells. Our work is conducted at the confluence of mathematical and computational modelling, systems and control engineering and experimental synthetic biology. Our approach consists in mathematically modelling, analysing, optimising, controlling, and experimentally implementing synthetic gene constructs in engineered living cells (mainly bacterial cells such as E. coli) and synthetic communities. A particular focus of our group is on the efficient engineering of de novo biomolecular feedback controllers as these are key to the realisation of robust, high-performance biosystems that can perform tasks autonomously and reliably. During the talk, the following topics will be introduced and briefly discussed:

  • Context/Host-Aware Synthetic Biology: Burden-Driven Biomolecular Feedback Control of Synthetic Constructs
  • Engineering and Control of Synthetic Communities: Biomolecular Feedback Control between Engineered Cells
  • Synthetic Biology by the Numbers: Absolute Quantification for Any Fluorescent Protein in Plate Readers
  • Evolution-Aware Synthetic Biology: Modelling Mutations of Synthetic Constructs in Bacteria
  • Accelerating the Engineering of Biosystems using Machine Learning: Machine Learning to Write Functional DNA

Malcolm White (University of St Andrews)

Prokaryotic Adaptive and Innate Immunity: exploring the roots of anti-viral defence


Grégory Batt (Institut Pasteur)

Adding automation and reactiveness to your experiments: motivation, tools and applications

Small-scale, low-cost bioreactors are emerging as powerful tools for microbial systems and synthetic biology research. Sophisticated experiments can be performed with high reproducibility. However, existing setups are limited in their in situ measurement capabilities. Researchers usually need to manually extract, process and measure culture samples using sensitive and specialized instruments. Manual interventions strongly constrains the available temporal resolution and reactiveness capabilities.

In this talk, I will present ReacSight, a generic strategy to enhance bioreactor arrays with automated measurements capabilities and reactive experiment control. It can be used to enhance any computer-controlled plate-based measurement device with pipetting capabilities and automation. ReacSight leverages the affordable Opentrons pipetting robots. It is ideally suited to integrate open-source, open-hardware components but can also accommodate GUI-only components. Applications include the control of an artificial differentiation system in yeast to create consortia with tuneable composition, and the characterization of protein secretion under various stress conditions to optimize production in yeast.

Maryse Lebrun (Université Montpellier)

The mystery of rhoptry secretion in apicomplexan parasites


BSM Honorary Lecture

Laurence Van Melderen

A journey in toxin-antitoxin systems – from toothpicks and colony counting to time-lapse imaging (but still counting colonies)


Gold Sponsors

Register for the event – closing date March 1

BSM member discount (Ticket at 0 euro) is only available when your have an active 2024 membership.

Online registration for this event is closed