Welcome to our August 2020 SynBioFSP update. Over the last six months, coronavirus has impacted on all of us – some much more than others. We have reached out to our project teams to offer our support where we can; we are pleased that we have been able to help numerous projects in various ways in these difficult times. Please get in contact if you are experiencing difficulties with your project that we might be able to help with.
We are currently finalising our mid-term report, which will soon go out to our International Advisory Panel. We are looking forwards to engaging with the Panel for review and advice. A quick summary of some of the numbers we’ve been putting together for this report – since 2017 we have:
The FSP has made significant progress towards creating a step-change in national SynBio capability and building a bio-based industry – our two core missions. The first cohort of CSIRO-University Synthetic Biology Future Science Fellows are now completing their program. We would like to congratulate Jason Whitfield and Karen Weynberg, our first two Fellows to finish, and thank them for their contributions to the SynBioFSP. Jason is now exploring opportunities in the start-up space and Karen will be extending her synbio work on phage as a treatment for antimicrobial resistance with her NHMRC Ideas grant.
As part of our strategy refresh within the SynBioFSP, we identified the need for a dedicated Agriculture and Food Application Domain. This newly-formed AD is headed by Dr Thomas Vanhercke from the Agriculture and Food Business Unit. We have reshaped the Chemicals and Fibres AD to reflect the new portfolio by transferring relevant projects to the new Ag&Food AD, and re-named it Industrial Biotechnology. Colin Scott has shifted to lead the Foundation Technologies Application Domain, and we welcome Charlotte Williams to the FSP as AD Leader for Industrial Biotechnology. Those projects affected by this restructure have all been notified and are engaging with their new Application Domain Leads. You can read more about this restructure and meet the new Application Domain Leaders here; the refreshed Application Domain descriptions are here.
We are currently further developing broader CSIRO synthetic biology strategy, including developing our proposal to support the next synbio program after the SynBioFSP concludes in June 2022. This has benefited from the numerous strategy engagements we have had both with the SynBioFSP cohort and with business units and other strategic initiatives, including the Challenges and Missions portfolios. We are also working with the Futures team to start development of a national technological roadmap, following on from the ACOLA synthetic biology outlook report published in 2018. The Futures team will be seeking partners and input from the community for this project over the next 6-9 months.
In personal news, my secondment from UQ to CSIRO finished in June and I have now taken a full time role with CSIRO. I’m excited to start this new phase and I look forward to continuing the SynBioFSP's collaborations with UQ and our other University partners going forwards.
Finally, we are excited to announce the launch of the SynBioFSP virtual seminar series on 7 September, and the dates for this year’s SynBioFSP Annual Conference and Workshop: 9 & 10 November 2020. We would also like to flag the Australian Synthetic Biology Challenge Design Review on 20 October 2020. Please note the dates in your diary. These will be online events, with further details to be circulated shortly.
CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform
A team of scientists led by the SynBio FSP has successfully produced in a laboratory setting a coral that is more resistant to increased seawater temperatures.
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