Pamela Silver  is an American cell and systems biologist and a bioengineer. She holds the Elliot T. and Onie H. Adams Professorship of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School in the Department of Systems Biology. Silver is one of the founding Core Faculty Members of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University.

She is one of the founders of the emerging field of Synthetic Biology. She has made contributions to other disciplines including cell and nuclear biology, systems biology, RNA biology, cancer therapeutics, international policy research, and graduate education. Silver was the first Director of the Harvard University Graduate Program in Systems Biology.

Matias Zurbriggen Is a systems biology researcher. He is a Professor and Head of the Institute of Synthetic Biology at Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany. His research perspective is to apply synthetic biology approaches to control and understand eukaryotic signalling processes and regulatory networks in a quantitative and spatiotemporally resolved manner. He is therefore following an interdisciplinary approach at the interface of engineering and life sciences, focusing on synthetic signalling networks and metabolic pathways, biological sensors, and chemical and optical switches.
Chang Liu is an assistant professor of Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UC Irvine. After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, Liu joined the laboratory of Professor Peter Schultz at the Scripps Research Institute. There, he expanded the genetic code of bacteria for the co-translational incorporation of otherwise post-translational modifications and provided the first demonstrations that expanded genetic codes can be selectively advantageous in the evolution of novel protein function. Liu earned his PhD in chemistry in 2009, after which he became a Miller Fellow at UC Berkeley. Working with Professor Adam Arkin, Liu conducted research in the field of synthetic biology and developed methods for the predictable creation of complex regulatory systems. In January 2013, Liu started his lab at UC Irvine.

Professor Liu’s research is in the fields of synthetic biology, chemical biology, and directed evolution. He is particularly interested in engineering specialized genetic systems for rapid evolution and creating synthetic organisms that use new building blocks for their informational and functional macromolecules. These systems can then be widely applied for the engineering, discovery, and understanding of biological function.

Ben Blount Is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Professor Tom Ellis. He heads the construction of synthetic yeast chromosome XI as part of the Sc2.0 project.

Sc2.0 is a high-profile, international project to do the first full synthesis of a eukaryotic cell genome, the model yeast species

Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Led by Prof Jef Boeke at NYU, USA, an international consortium is now established to re-synthesis and make changes to all 16 yeast chromosomes. Our group is leading the UK effort in the consortium, with the design, synthesis and assembly of the complete 666 kbp chromosome XI. During construction we will investigate DNA assembly methods and genome design and topology and learn how these can be used to optimise gene expression in metabolic engineering experiments.

Sean R. Cutler is a professor of plant cell biology at the University of California, Riverside. In 2009 Cutler showed how abscisic acid, a naturally-produced plant stress hormone, helps plants survive by inhibiting their growth in times of drought. Cutler also discovered pyrabactin, a synthetic chemical that mimics abscisic acid. His research was named by Science magazine as one of the top 10 breakthroughs of the year.

Cutler received his B.A. and M.S. from the University of Toronto, and his Ph.D. from Stanford University.

Alison Smith is professor at the University of Cambridge. Research in Alison Smith’s group is exploring the potential for exploitation of algae for bioenergy production, in particular the use of algae to capture CO2 from fixed installations, and metabolic engineering of high value products from algae to provide income stream. In addition, the group demonstrated an intimate interaction between algae and bacteria in which the latter supply algae with vitamin B12 in return for photosynthate. The implications of this for the growth of algal feedstock in open ponds are being investigated.
Giles Oldroyd leads an international programme focused on engineering nitrogen-fixing cereals funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He is an editor at The Plant Cell and faculty member of the Faculty of 1000, Plant Biology.

Giles received his BA in Plant Biology in 1994 from the University of East Anglia and his PhD in 1998 from the University of California, Berkeley. He began work in symbiotic associations in plants as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, California, under the guidance of Professor Sharon Long. He started his independent research career in 2002 as a BBSRC David Philips Fellow at the John Innes Centre in Norwich. He joined SLCU as a group leader in November 2017. Giles has been honoured with the Society of Experimental Biology President’s Medal, a Royal Society Wolfson Research merit award and the EMBO Young Investigator award.

Anne Osbourn is a Professor at the University of East Anglia, and her group at the John Innes Centre investigates plant-derived natural products – function, synthesis, and mechanisms of metabolic diversification.  Much of her work is focussed on terpenes. An important advance from the group has been the discovery that genes for specialized metabolic pathways are organized in ‘operon-like’ clusters in plant genomes, a finding that has opened up new opportunities for pathway discovery through genome mining, metabolic engineering and synthetic biology.

Terpene pathway discovery, elucidation and engineering. The terpenes are one of the largest and most diverse classes of plant-derived natural products and have a wide range of applications in the agriculture, pharmaceutical, food and manufacturing industries. These compounds have a high degree of structural complexity, making them inaccessible to organic synthesis or classical combinatorial chemistry.  Osbourn’s group have characterised an extensive set of genes and enzymes for triterpene biosynthesis and are using this toolkit to engineer structurally diverse molecules so that they can investigate the relationship between structure and function.  They aim to create new methods, platforms and technologies for the rapid discovery, synthesis and modification of triterpenes that would not otherwise be accessible.

Operon-like gene clusters and synthetic traits. Plant genomes contain thousands of genes with predicted functions in secondary metabolism, but the metabolic diversity of plants remains largely unexplored. The Osbourn lab is exploiting the discovery that genes for the synthesis of different classes of specialised metabolite are organised in ‘operon-like’ clusters in diverse plant species to discover new metabolic pathways and chemistries and to gain insights into plant genome structure, organization, regulation and evolution. They are also using synthetic biology approaches for cluster engineering and to make functional synthetic clusters (potential ‘syntraits’).