The Lorentz Center workshop on Reconstituting Biology will be held in Leiden, The Netherlands at the end of June and early July 2020. The workshop, capped at 55 participants, focuses on discussing the current state-of-the-art and challenges in research centering on engineering minimal synthetic cells. Building upon recent consortiums formed in Germany and The Netherlands and large research teams formed in the US, the workshop will feature leaders working in this space from Europe and the US. The workshop is mostly discussion-based in small groups and will include trainees from the invited groups and some selected junior faculty. The workshop provides unique opportunities for the trainees and junior faculty to network with expert researchers in the field, potentially leading to new research ideas.
The workshop will focus on four questions/goals: 1) Will we ever be able to reconstitute anything life-like? 2) Define the role of human-designed elements or building blocks play in building synthetic minimal cells. 3) What are currently the main limitations for reconstituting cellular functionalities from the bottom up and how do we overcome them? 4) Define approaches/practices to set up research community that shares building blocks, techniques, and protocols to ensure findings are reproducible across many labs. The workshop discussion will be collected by the workshop co-chairs along with input from the participants, with an aim to publish it as a perspective article to reach a large community. This award was co-funded by the Cellular Dynamics and Function Cluster and the Systems and Synthetic Biology Cluster in the Division of Molecular and Cellular Biosciences.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.