From June 14th to 17th Patrick and Emily attended Synthetic Biology 5.0, the 5th International conference on Synthetic Biology, at Stanford University in Pal Alto, California. The first day started with the 1st annual SynBio Slam, where participants each had 5 minutes to share their ideas on synthetic biology. There were talks on subjects as diverse as education, synthetic biology art and even some poetry!

Places, Posters, and People

From there started 3 days of intense talks and poster sessions. Presenters were from around the world and subjects ranged from photosynthetic eukaryotic cells to electrochemical E. Coli cells. Highlights included a talk by Steve Benner on GATCZP: the use of synthetic base pairs to make new amino acids and a presentation from Pamela Silver on photosynthetic organisms.

Our own team presented their poster from last year's iGEM project, which featured a toolkit to detect problems in protein expression. On the second night was a trip to the NASA Aims center for a night to talk to researchers there about what synthetic biology could do in terms of Space. It was a lot of fun and sparked some interesting conversations.

As well as many researchers, there were also several iGEM teams in attendance. On the last day, there was an iGEM meetup where members of these teams got together to network and talk about iGEM at their institutions. We met some interesting people and got some contact information for a few people that we might be interested in working on a collaboration with, particularly in the field of human practices.

Overall, this was a fantastic opportunity for members of our team. There are some incredibly cool projects going on in the world, and it was very inspiring to hear from some of the leading scientists in the field.

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