Saturday, June 18, 2011

Some quick notes on #Synbio5: Synthetic Biology 5.0 at Stanford

Well, just got back from Synthetic Biology 5.0 at Stanford.  I don't really have time to do a thorough job with a blog post but I will try to fill in some details here.

1. Got invited by Natalie Kuldell in April to participate in an education workshop for the meeting.  Eventually said yes, but only after deciding to not go to the Earth Microbiome Meeting in Beijing. I said yes in part b/c it was close by home but also b/c of the people Natalie invited to be on the panel.  She wrote in the invitation email:
Other panelists who have confirmed their participation in this session are from Understanding Science/Understanding Evolution (Juday Scotchmoor), Nature Education (Ilona Miko), Science for Citizens (Darlene Cavalier), GenSpace (Ellen Jorgenson), and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (King Chow).
And well, of the ones I knew on the list, they all were great.

2. Had a conference call (very brief) in June to discuss the session.

3. Headed out to Stanford very late Tuesday night - and thus missed the Slam session that night.  I got to my hotel at about 1:30 AM.

4. I woke up early enough to hop on my bike and ride on over to the meeting.  I was a PhD student at Stanford and had brought my bike in the hopes of going for some rides around town.  I took some pics on the way in:





Got to the meeting and of course posted a few tweets
5. Then went in to the session.  I went up to the front and said hello to Eric Lander and talked to him about my recent PhD student Amber Hartman who has taken a job in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.  I then said hello to some of the others in the session and took a seat in the front row and started tweeting and taking pictures.






  • phylogenomicsEndy refs quote of Eric Lander's from after human genome proj: "Genome - bought the book - hard to read" twitpic.com/5bxgb7 #synbio5
  • phylogenomicsJohn Glass: he is very proud of being involved in making 1st synthetic genome - if he were a goat he would infect himself w/ it #synbio5
  • phylogenomicsLander asks "What are the ret challenges of synthetic biology" - need a list like Hilbert's math challenges to shape field” #synbio5
  • phylogenomicsJohn Glass discussing history of synthetic genomics #synbio5and why they started working on mycoplasmas http://t.co/aVuNino







  • phylogenomicsRT @peccoud: RT @synthaes: how do we keep synthetic genomics open source? vital - jef boeke #synbio5 So many aspects: data, software, sequences
  • phylogenomicsLove how speaker at #synbio5 trying to push for power of synbiology and Eric Lander keeps saying "The genetics told us that" #gogenetics
  • phylogenomicsEric Lander is one of the best panel moderators I have ever seen - except maybe Robert Krulwich - #synbio5 - great job pushing discussion
  • drkahaynesITA He's great RT @phylogenomics: Eric Lander is one of the best panel moderators I have ever seen #synbio5
  • phylogenomicsPam Silver says that the virome is fascinating and needs more looking into #synbio5
  • phylogenomicsLander has just gone through effective population size Vs. Selective coefficients #math-at-9am #synbio5
  • phylogenomicsRT @peccoud#synbio5 John Glass, we have no idea how to design a genome? Would studying evolution help? Not sure.
  • phylogenomicsThe synthetic biology express - Drew Endy hand delivering questions to panel #synbio5 http://t.co/soIpd3c
  • phylogenomicsLander fo abstracts for future science - some awesome ones - Pam Silver says "photosynthetic humans developed for travel to mars" #synbio5
  • phylogenomicsAlica Jackson from DARPA announcing DARPA is getting into synthetic biology in a big big big way w/ "Living Foundries Program" #synbio5
Then there was a break and I got to talk to a few key people including Alicia Jackson from DARPA who I have been playing a bit of phone tag with.  I also got to meet some people I only knew online/via twitter like Erika Hayden.  







And then back in to the next session and more tweeting:




  • phylogenomicsChurch wants to do fluorescent in situ RNA sequencing #synbio5- note he says this was original goal of his development of next gen methods
  • phylogenomicsNow up Alice Ting from MIT discussing technologies for detecting and analyzing proteins in living cells #synbio5
  • phylogenomicsTing: there is a need for new protein labeling methods especially ones that add chemicals to specific amino acids of proteins #synbio5
  • phylogenomicsTing: developed probe incorporation mediated by enzymes method #synbio5
Then I did indeed go for a bike ride (at lunch time)




I rode up alpine road - not too far - maybe 8-9 miles up and then 8-9 miles back.  But it was nice to get out and back on the roads of my semi-youth. 

And then back to the meeting (after changing shirts ...) where I caught Pam Silver talking (note - Silver is one of my favorite people in biology - brilliant - really funny - down to Earth - etc; second note - she grew up in the area near the meeting and told some good stories outside in the breaks about skateboarding around Stanford Campus).

I then stopped tweeting because my phone battery died and I had to get back to my hotel to take a shower.  So I took a little break.  And then returned for the poster session where I really only ended up seeing one poster, because it was so awesome:




I spoke to Karmella for a while and then to some others.  And eventually I headed back to the hotel to crash because I was pretty beat.  I had dinner and then went back to my room and blogged about Karmella:
And went to sleep.

Then, at 4 AM the hotel alarm went off waking me up.  It eventually went off again while I was still trying to get my act together to get out of the room. And then it went off again a few minutes later.  I did not really get back to sleep.  So of course I posted something
  • phylogenomicsThanks Westin in Palo Alto, the two false fire alarms at ~4 AM made my day; though one good thing:they did prove their alarms work #synbio5
I eventually went downstairs and decided to check out of the hotel and skip the Friday part of the meeting because I was just dragging.  So I checked out and complained about the alarm and got a free breakfast.  So I left my bike and suitcase at the front desk and went to breakfast where I saw Eric Lander also eating.  I did not want to bother him too much but I stopped by and said hello and then asked if he has seen the painted poster and he had not.  So I showed him pics and he asked if I could email him more detail because he wanted to invite Karmella to display her work at the Broad.  Eventually I drove on to campus to go to the AM talks.

I got there in the middle of a talk




So I went to the posters again and took some more pics of Karmellas poster so you could see the canvas.







I also got a picture of someone taking pictures of all the posters - which seemed a little lame.  I note I asked for permission from Karmella before taking pictures of her poster.




I then went to a talk or two and spent a bunch of time sitting outside talking to various people.  I pretty much always like meeting and talking to people over going to talks in overheated conference rooms (note to Stanford - if you want to host meetings in June get some f*$&% air conditioning in your rooms).  Also note - it may not be the best idea in the world to put out lunch boxes in the sun at 10:30 AM.



Eventually a group of us headed over to the side room where the Education session was going to be held:
The education session seemed to go quite well.  I will try to post more on it later but I note it was videotaped and the video will supposedly be posted.  It was great talking to the people on the panel and meeting some of the interested parties in the crowd.





And then after a group of us sat down for some sodas/tea and chatted.  It was good to get a few minutes with people dedicated to outreach and education.  And then to posters where I saw Marc Facciotti from Davis as well as a few other people I knew.  And finally to home:











1 comment:

  1. Eric Ma created an archive of all the #SynBio5 tweets at the conference. It's inclusive and contains 1512 tweets from hundreds of conference participants. (Interestingly the tweet distribution obeys the 80/20 rule perfectly, with 20% of the tweeters accounting for 80% of the content.)

    Eric posted the following to the diybio mailing list: "I've also gotten the analysis results for the archive using Summarizr, and it's got some pretty interesting things. The "word cloud" was my favorite - based on it "pam" (Pamela Silver, I'm sure) got more mentions than "voigt" (my supervisor), "darpa" was pretty darn popular, and there was a lot of mentions about "yeast" as well. I think it says much about the trends in the conference ("pam" vs "voigt" aside, that is)."

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