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Engineering Biology in Cambridge



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

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. We are always open to speaker suggestions so if you would like to nominate yourself or another person, please get in touch via The informal format of 1-2 short talks followed by discussion and an opportunity to network, all accompanied by tasty pub snacks and buy-your-own drinks.

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.















We are back on Monday 4 September with Dr Alex Borodavka 'Viruses: Elegance in Their Simplicity, or Simply Bad News Wrapped in Protein?'
Royal Society and Sir Henry Dale Fellow
Department of Biochemistry


Bio: Alex earned his BSc in Biochemistry and pursued his MSc in Microbiology and Virology at Kyiv National University. He later advanced his research as a Wellcome-funded PhD student at the Astbury Centre for Structural Molecular Biology, University of Leeds, UK. Following his PhD, he was honored with a Sir Henry Wellcome Fellowship to develop advanced fluorescence techniques to investigate RNA viruses with segmented genomes. From 2014 to 2018, he split his time between Ludwig Maximillian University in Munich, the University of Leeds, and UNC at Chapel Hill. In 2019, Alex founded his own research group in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, backed by a Wellcome Sir Henry Dale Fellowship.

It would be great to see the community coming together again with free aromi food available! Drinks available to purchase at the bar. We look forward to seeing you at the Panton Arms, Cambridge.  Places are limited to 30. Please rsvp sign up here. Any problems signing up email


Kindly Sponsored by Cambridge Consultants





Future Dates:

  • Monday 2 October- Dr Diana Fusco, Assitant Professor, Dept of Physics, Cambridge

    Crispr-trapping bacteriophages to shine the light on phage-bacteria interactions at single-cell resolution.

    Despite the long history and wide-spread use of bacteriophage-derived molecular biology tools in molecular biology and microbiology, the level and importance of stochasticityin the infection timeline is poorly understood, as most standard methods rely on bulk, population average measurements. By combining the Crispr approach to genetically edit T7 phages and introduce fluorescent markers and mother-machine microfluidic devises, we are finally visualizing the different events in the phage infection timeline and uncovering new mysteries in phage biology.

    During the talk, I'll explain the details of how we use Crispr to edit the phage genome, the current challenges with the technique, and also some unexpected new findings that we would have never guessed before.

    Diana's interest in biology started as a physics undergrad studying topological properties of the transcriptional network in budding yeast. After that, she was hooked and moved to soft matter and protein self-assembly for her PhD, under the supervision of Dr. Charbonneau at Duke. Unsatisfied with addressing questions exclusively on the computational side, she embarked onto a hybrid postdoc in Dr. Hallatschek lab at UC Berkeley, where she studied the evolutionary consequences of spatial range expansion combining microbiology and mathematical modeling. She is currently an assistant professor in biological physics at the Cavendish lab, where she pursues fundamental questions in microbial life and evolution using a combination of physical modelling, synthetic biology and fluorescence microscopy.


  • Monday 6 November
  • Monday 4 December



Past Meetings

  • Monday 5 June, 6pm-8pm.  Dr Kirsty MacLellan-Gibson from Brabaham Instiutute
  • 3rd April - Lorenzo Di Michele, Asst. Professor in Biotechnology, Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology. "Building synthetic cells with DNA (just not how you would expect)"