Sixth International Mammalian Synthetic Biology Workshop (mSBW 6.0)

May 17-19, 2019

We are pleased to announce the Sixth International Mammalian Synthetic Biology Workshop (mSBW 6.0), to be held at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL (near Chicago) on the weekend of May 18-19, 2019.  The mSBW series has grown exponentially in recent years to become a signature worldwide event. This event brings pioneers of synthetic biology together with experts from other relevant fields to highlight and inspire cutting-edge synthetic biology research, emphasizing both basic and applied science. The workshop format will provide a forum for exposition of the latest developments in the field and discussions of how experts from related fields can benefit from and contribute to mammalian synthetic biology.

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New features planned for this year include a pre-conference tutorial series on the afternoon of Friday May 17, 2019, which is aimed at graduate students, postdocs, and faculty who are new to mammalian synthetic biology and wish to learn relevant techniques and scientific and technological fundamentals. To learn more about this tutorial, see this event description, and if you plan to attend, please complete this short survey by May 10th to help guide the discussion.

Please revisit this site, which will be updated to include a preliminary technical program with speakers, registration information, travel information, and other event details as they become available.

Plenary Speakers:

Confirmed Speakers:

Conference Chairs:

Organizing Committee

Featured Speakers

Gaymon Bennett

Gaymon Bennett is associate professor of religion, science, and technology at Arizona State University. He works on the problem of modernity in contemporary religion and biotechnology: its shifting moral economies, contested power relations, and uncertain modes of subjectivity. His book "Technicians of Human Dignity" (Fordham 2016) examines the figure of human dignity in 20th century international and religious politics and its current biopolitical reconfigurations. His co-authored book "Designing Human Practices: An Experiment with Synthetic Biology" (with P. Rabinow, Chicago, 2012)...Read more

Cheryl Cui

Ms. Cheryl Cui serves as a Partner at Nest.Bio Ventures. She is a Venture Partner at InCube Ventures, LLC. Ms. Cui has been a Venture Partner at VentureHealth since joining it in 2014 here she coordinated portfolio companies’ growth strategy in the Asia Pacific. Prior to that, she worked at Danen Ventures, where she served as an Investment Manager and managed deal flow, conducted due diligence and evaluated early stage technologies in the healthcare sector. She served as Vice President of Scientific Affairs at EDO Mobile Health Inc., which she also co-founded. She currently serves as a...Read more

Tejal Desai

Tejal Desai is the Ernest L Prien Endowed Professor and Chair of the Department of Bioengineering & Therapeutic Sciences, Schools of Pharmacy and Medicine at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), director of the NIH training grant for the Joint Graduate Program in Bioengineering at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and UCSF, and founding director of the UCSF/UC Berkeley Masters Program in Translational Medicine. She was recently named the Inaugural Director of the UCSF Engineering and Applied Sciences Initiative known as HIVE (Health Innovation Via Engineering).Read more

Miki Ebisuya

Miki Ebisuya received her PhD from Kyoto University, Japan in 2008. After becoming a group leader at Kyoto University in 2009 and then RIKEN in 2013, she is now a group leader at EMBL Barcelona, Spain. The research interest of her group is reconstituting developmental mechanisms in cell culture.Read more

Martin Fussenegger

Martin Fussenegger is Professor of Biotechnology and Bioengineering at the Department of Biosystems Science and Engineering (D-BSSE) of the ETH Zurich in Basel as well as at the University of Basel. His research focuses on mammalian cell engineering, in particular on the assembly of synthetic gene circuits that process complex control and closed-loop expression logic and on the production of theranostic designer cells implants that interface with host metabolism and have the potential to correct prominent metabolic disorders. Martin Fussenegger graduated with Werner Arber at the Biocenter...Read more

Linda Griffith

Linda G. Griffith, PhD, is the School of Engineering Teaching Innovation Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering at MIT, where she directs the Center for Gynepathology Research and “Bio-Mimetics”, a DARPA/NIH-funded Microphysiological Systems Program. Dr. Griffith received a Bachelor's Degree from Georgia Tech and a PhD degree from the University of California at Berkeley, both in chemical engineering. Dr. Griffith’s research is in the field of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering. Her laboratory, in collaboration with J. Upton and C. Vacanti, was the...Read more

Ben Hurlbut

J. Benjamin Hurlbut is trained in the history of modern biomedical and life sciences. His research lies at the intersection of science and technology studies, bioethics and political theory. He studies the changing relationships between science, politics and law in the governance of biomedical research and innovation in the 20th and 21st centuries.Read more

Darrell Irvine

Dr. Irvine obtained an Honors Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics from the University of Pittsburgh.  As a National Science Foundation graduate fellow he then studied Polymer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Following completion of his Ph.D., he was a Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell postdoctoral fellow in immunology at the Beckman Center for Molecular and Genetic Medicine. He is presently a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He is an Associate Director for the Koch Institute...Read more

Hidde Ploegh


Hidde Ploegh is a biochemist whose area of interest is the immune system. He is known for his analysis of the pathways involved in antigen presentation by products of the Major histocompatibility Complex (MHC).

Ploegh was born in the Netherlands and came to Boston to perform the experimental part of his Ph.D. work under the supervision of Jack Strominger at Harvard university in 1977. He returned to Europe in 1980, and after having held positions in Germany (1980-1984) and the Netherlands (1984-1992) he joined the faculty of MIT as...Read more

Stanley Qi

Dr. Lei Qi (Stanley) is Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering (School of Engineering), Department of Chemical and Systems Biology (School of Medicine), and a core faculty member in Stanford ChEM-H InstituteRead more

Dario Robleto

Dario Robleto is a transdisciplinary artist, researcher, writer, and teacher based in Houston, Texas. He has exhibited his work extensively since 1997 at museums such as the Menil Collection, Houston, TX, and the Whitney Museum of American Art. His work has been profiled in numerous publications and media including Radiolab, Krista Tippet's On Being, and the New York Times. He has served as a researcher and resident at institutions such as Rice University, the Smithsonian Museum of American History, the SETI Institute and the Radcliffe Institue for Advanced Study at Harvard University. He...Read more

Melody Swartz

Swartz's research focuses on how lymphatic vessels, and their transport functions, contribute to adaptive immunity. Biomedical scientists currently regard the fluid-drainage function of the lymphatic system as mostly important for maintaining tissue fluid balance. The cell transport functions, which regulate immunity, are considered separately.Read more

Savas Tay

Savas Tay is a systems biologist and bioengineer who works at the interface of biology, physics, and engineering. His overarching goal is to understand how biological systems work from an engineer’s perspective, and use this knowledge to manipulate cells and gene pathways to help cure diseases. On the technology front, his lab develops high-throughput and high-content single-cell analysis devices by integrating microfluidics and optics.

Prof. Tay is joining University of Chicago as an Associate Professor in the summer of 2016 from ETH Zurich in Switzerland. A main focus for...Read more

Ron Weiss

Weiss began his pioneering work in synthetic biology in 1996 when, as a graduate student, he set up a wet-lab in the MIT EECS Department. His lab uses computer engineering principles of abstraction, composition, and interface specifications to program cells with sensors and actuators precisely controlled by analog and digital logic circuitry.Read more

Laurie Zoloth

A leader in the field of religious studies with particular scholarly interest in bioethics and Jewish studies, Laurie Zoloth’s research explores religion and ethics, drawing from sources ranging from Biblical and Talmudic texts to postmodern Jewish philosophy, including the writings of Emmanuel Levinas. Her scholarship spans the ethics of genetic engineering, stem cell research, synthetic biology, social justice in health care, and how science and medicine are taught. She also researches the practices of interreligious dialogue, exploring how religion plays a role in public discussion and policy.Read more