Introduction to Synthetic Biology for Entrepreneurs

 This lab-based course will introduce synthetic and systems biology with the goal of producing a proof-of-concept project for possible commercial development. The course will focus on how synthetic biology, which properly should be called “synthetic bioengineering”, to reduce complex biological systems to a set of simple modules with defined functionality that can be used to assemble ever more complex functional modules. Good engineering practice of design, build, test and repeat will be applied to prokaryotic and eukaryotic regulatory and structural components, such as those involved in transcription, translation, post-translational modifications, epigenesis, motility, and cytoarchitecture. More advanced students will be provided with appropriate material. The course will cover design and implementation of biological circuits and genome engineering. The concepts behind standardized parts will be introduced as well as potential limitations. Biological parts will be available from the 2013 Biobrick distribution, and new parts will be designed and synthesized as needed. New Biobrick compliant parts will be returned to the Registry. Laboratory space is fully equipped for synthetic, molecular and cell biology. Gibson and standard recombinant DNA-based assembly will be used as needed.

Potential markets for the near and long-term will be discussed in the context of regulations and current industrial interests. Intellectual property concerns and potential conflict with the open synthetic biology movement will be discussed. Ideally, the goal of this course is to produce enough preliminary data to for the submission of a Phase I small business grant application to the NIH, NSF or DOE. However, experimental results will be the determining factor as to whether this goal can be achieved. Basic introductory guidance on SBIR grant writing and submission will be provided. Scientists, engineers, biohacker and DIYers are invited to attend.

The main instructor is an experienced biologist, biotechnologist with basic research and industry experience, who has previously supervised three IGEM teams and written successful SBIR grant applications. Subject to interest, the course is tentatively set to meet daily for 3 weeks at Regenerative Sciences Institute, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, located in a bioincubator facility in Sunnyvale, CA near Moffett Field. Lectures and demonstrations will be for 2-3 hours on weekdays, with the rest of the day available for lab work. Tentatively, the course will run from December 6 through December 20 and from January 3 through 10. Tuition is currently set at $3500 for instruction and supplies. A target class size of 6-8 students has been set. We will offer one scholarship and are seeking corporate sponsorship for additional scholarships. If interested please email synbio@regensci.org with the subject “Introduction to Synthetic Biology for Entrepeneurs.”