Team:MIT/MIT Mammalian Meetup


Meetup RSVP form
Event Description Time (EDT)
Welcome remarks 9:00 AM - 9:05 AM
Opening speaker
Ron Weiss
Professor Weiss will orient our meet-up to the field of synthetic biology, present a research vignette on creation of organoids using synthetic circuits, and point us toward future mammalian research opportunities. This 25-minute talk will be followed by a 10-minute Q&A session. 9:05 AM - 9:40 AM
Team Introductions This is a time to introduce your team!
• Where you are from
• What your project is
• Why you are excited about mammalian synthetic biology!
9:40 AM - 10:00 AM
Introductions to short talks Hear from and ask questions to two MIT students on various perspectives in mammalian synbio: a graduate student and alum postdoc. 10:00 AM - 10:05 AM
Short talk 1 PhD candidate Noreen Wauford, studying sophisticated gene circuits in cell therapies from the Weiss Lab. 10:05 AM - 10:20 AM
Break 5 minutes 10:20 AM - 10:25 AM
Short talk 2 Dr. Pranam Chatterjee, a postdoc in Dr. George Church’s lab at Harvard, speaking on Computation-Mediated Protein Engineering of Genome Editing and Anti-Viral Tools. 10:25 AM - 11 AM
Industry Speakers: Dr. Norville and Dr. Wood, founders of Jura Bio 35 minutes
(25 minutes talk, 10 minutes Q&A)
11:00 AM - 11:35 AM
Break 5 minutes 11:35 AM - 11:40 AM
Industry Speaker: Dr. Verma of BCG 35 minutes
(25 minutes talk, 10 minutes Q&A)
11:40 AM - 12:15 PM
Graphical Abstract Contest Award + Closing Remarks (5 minutes) 12:15 PM - 12:20 PM
Break 10 minutes 12:20 PM - 12:30 PM
OPTIONAL: After-event social
• Skribbl.bio
• Casual chatting
• Gather.town casual chatting
Come join us for a fun and casual get-together! We’ll be playing biology-themed skribbl.io, solving bio-themed riddles, and having fun chatting about anything iGEM and biology! 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM

Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Ron Weiss

Prof. Ron Weiss, MIT

Prof. Weiss is one of the pioneers of synthetic biology.  He has been engaged in synthetic biology research since 1996 when he was a graduate student at MIT and where he helped set up a wet-lab in the EECS Department. The Weiss Laboratory seeks to create integrated biological systems capable of autonomously performing useful tasks, and to elucidate the design principles underlying complex phenotypes.

Dr. Julie Norville

Dr. Elizabeth Wood

Dr. Julie Norville & Elizabeth Wood, JURA Bio

Julie Norville and Elizabeth Wood co-founded and co-direct JURA Bio, Inc., an early-stage therapeutics start up focusing on developing and delivering cell-based therapies for the treatment of autoimmune and immune-related neurodegenerative disease.

Julie Norville is a synthetic biologist who trained under George Church, Thomas Knight, and Angela Belcher. She helped perform some of the first demonstrations of CRISPR in eukaryotes (human cells, plants, and yeast) and developing tools for the radical recoding of genomes, and was an early i-Gem contributor.

Elizabeth Wood is a biophysicist with a background in machine learning-driven protein design. She's worked under Adam Cohen, Angela Belcher, and Markus Buehler, designing protein tools for optogenetics, carbon sequestration, and water filtration. She currently helps run the NeurIPS Workshop Learning Meaningful Representations of Life and the Models Inference and Algorithms Seminar at the Broad.

Dr. Malvika Verma

Dr. Malvika Verma, BCG's DeepTech

Dr. Malvika Verma is a Consultant at Boston Consulting Group (BCG), based in the San Francisco office. She joined BCG in 2019 after completing her PhD in Biological Engineering at MIT with Professor Robert Langer. Her research covers biomedical devices, drug delivery, and infectious diseases. Malvika is using her expertise at BCG to advise clients in the social impact, healthcare, and energy sectors. She also works closely with BCG's DeepTech Mission on efforts in synthetic biology.

Our Mission:

Our mission is to inspire connections between iGEM teams to explore implications of and discuss mammalian synthetic biology. This event will provide fireside talks with mammalian synthetic biologists, opportunities to meet other iGEM teams, and offer a chance to learn about the state of the field. We hope each team walks (or more accurately, Zooms) away having had conversations that spark excitement and offer new perspectives on mammalian synthetic biology.


Motivations behind the meetup:

MIT iGEM traditionally works on mammalian synthetic biology (MSB; using mammalian cell lines and gene parts as opposed to the bacterial or yeast chasses), and as our team learned more about the niche during project ideation, we realized that the majority of iGEM teams did not work this way. Typically, our team helps facilitate a regional meetup [New England GEM (NEGEM)]. Additionally, given this year’s unique virtual format, geographic location was not as important as in the past; we saw an opportunity to reach out to teams from all across the world working in this niche and learn from and support each other.

Building off of previous studies undertaken by UC Davis and Boston University iGEM, we understood that the niche of MSB was one that was a privilege to work in due to access to resources of time and money. This is also accompanied by ethical considerations in increasing accessibility of such life-altering technology. Thus, to address the fact that teams may have not had the same exposure to MSB, we hope that our meetup will spark excitement and demonstrate how promising the field can be. We hope to show attendees the wide range of possibilities and experiences available through talks from scientists in both academia and industry.

Based on feedback from teams through an initial survey to 2020 iGEM PIs gathering what kind of topic-specific meetup or workshops their teams would be interested in, we put together MMM: the MIT Mammalian Meetup.


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