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Engineering Biology in Cambridge

Cafe Synthetique | 1st Monday of the Month 6-8pm | Panton Arms | informal talks, discussion & networking, pub snacks & drinks |

Café Synthetique is the monthly meetup for the Cambridge synthetic and engineering biology community with informal talks, discussion and pub snacks.

We meet monthly at the Panton Arms to share the latest developments in engineering biology and related approaches and techniques. Speakers range from students and group leaders to industry professionals and entrepreneurs. Topics cover many areas at the intersection on biology and engineering (see some examples below), often pairing speakers from the University with local start-ups and biotech companies to provide a broad view from emerging research and technologies to real-world and commercial applications. The format is informal, with 1-2 short talks followed by discussion and an opportunity to network, all accompanied by tasty pub snacks and buy-your-own drinks.

We are always open to speaker suggestions so if you would like to nominate yourself or another person, please get in touch via

Next Event

We are back on Monday 1 July, 6pm at Panton Arms with two talks featuring:

Dr. Carolina Grandellis, Earlham Biofoundry Lead

Title: Redesigning and Accelerating Biology with Robots: Meet the Earlham Biofoundry!

Summary: I would like to introduce the Earlham Biofoundry, which is a valuable resource for the UK biology and biotechnology communities, providing a platform for undertaking large-scale projects. We have in-house access to automation and expertise to run large-scale experiments, typically on-demand in the field of engineering biology. We can execute a diverse range of molecular and microbiological workflows, such as DNA assemblies and test fermentation conditions and strains, at larger scales. I will tell you about our capabilities, including cutting-edge equipment and expertise, as well as some of the projects we are working on.

Daniel Lord, Opentrons

Title tbc


Sign up here on MEETUP.


Future Dates:

  • Monday 9 September

Past Meetings

  • Monday 3 June with Hew Phillips, Isomerase and Irena Gostimskaya, Dept. Chemistry
  • Monday 8 April with Graham Christie,CEB 'Bacillus: Awake me!’
  • Monday 4 March with Betty Chung (Cambridge) and Sarah Guiziou (Earlham Instit) "Integrases to record gene expression during plant development"
  • Monday 5 February with David Fernandez-Antoran (Gurdon Institute) and Salavat Magazov (CCA.Bio) Cutting-Edge Cell Culture
  • Monday 15 January with Lara Allen (Cambridge Development i-Teams) and Kavi Shah (Cambridge SynBioSoc & iGEM)
  • Monday 4 December 2023 with Hadrien Peyret (John Innes Centre) and Jarrod Shilts (Expression Edits)
  • Monday 6 November 2023 with Daniela Lobo (Cambridge Display Technology Ltd.)
  • Monday 2 October 2023 with Dr Diana Fusco (Dept. Physics) Crispr-trapping bacteriophages to shine the light on phage-bacteria interactions at single-cell resolution
  • Monday 4 September 2023 with Dr Alex Borodavka (Dept. Biochemistry) Viruses: Elegance in Their Simplicity, or Simply Bad News Wrapped in Protein?
  • Monday 5 June 2023 with Dr Kirsty MacLellan-Gibson (Brabaham Instiutute)
  • Monday 3 April 2023 with Lorenzo Di Michele (Dept. Chem. Eng. and Biotech.) Building synthetic cells with DNA (just not how you would expect)

Full Archive of past meetings available here