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Engineering Biology in Cambridge


The EngBio Forums feature prominent external speakers and excellent networking opportunities - a great opportunity to learn more about cutting edge synthetic and engineering biology. Registration is now open!

synbioforum . synbioforum2   synboforum2


The Engineering Biology Forums are a series of talks exploring key tools for the future of engineering biology and biotechnology. Hosted by the Engineering Biology Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, the forums will take place Thursdays, 5pm-9pm at the Old Divinity School, St Johns College, Cambridge. Keynote lectures and discussion session will be followed by food, drinks and a fair including demonstrations, exhibitions and information showcasing scientific excellence from around the Cambridge engineering biology community

 If you would like to suggest a speaker or theme for a future EngBio Forum please contact

Tuesday 31st January 2023: Super-Resolution Microscopy

Thursday 31st January 2023, 5pm-8.30pm

Venue: Old Divinity School, St John’s College

Super-Resolution Microscopy:

Impact of machine learning and artificial intelligence on data analysis and predictive modelling in biology


Keynote Speakers

Prof. Stefan Hell (Zoom Speaker)

Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 2014

Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany

Title: MINFLUX nanoscopy and related matters

I will show how an in-depth description of the basic principles of diffraction-unlimited fluorescence microscopy (nanoscopy) [1-3] has spawned a new powerful superresolution concept, namely MINFLUX nanoscopy [4]. MINFLUX utilizes a local excitation intensity minimum (of a doughnut or a standing wave) that is targeted like a probe in order to localize the fluorescent molecule to be registered. In combination with single-molecule switching for sequential registration, MINFLUX [4-7] has obtained the ultimate (super)resolution: the size of a molecule. MINFLUX nanoscopy, providing 1–3 nanometer resolution in fixed and living cells, is presently being established for routine fluorescence imaging at the highest, molecular-size resolution levels. Relying on fewer detected photons than popular camera-based localization, MINFLUX and related MINSTED [8,9] nanoscopies are poised to open a new chapter in the imaging of protein complexes and distributions in fixed and living cells. MINFLUX is also set to transform the single-molecule analysis of dynamic processes, as already demonstrated by tracking in detail the unhindered stepping of the motor protein kinesin-1 on microtubules at up to physiological ATP concentrations [10], and providing answers to longstanding questions with respect to the kinesin-1 mechanochemical cycle.


Prof. Ricardo Henriques (Live Speaker)

Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência, Oeiras, Portugal

Title: Open-technology for Super-Resolution and Machine-Learning enabled Live-Cell BioImaging

Computational analysis has become an essential part of microscopy, enabling and enhancing quantitative imaging approaches. Several cutting-edge microscopy methods now depend on an analytical step to process large volumes of recorded data, extract analytical information, and produce a final rendered image. Single-molecule localization-based super-resolution microscopy is a notorious example. In recent years, our team and collaborators have built an open-source ecosystem of combined computational and optical approaches particularly dedicated to improving live-cell microscopy, super-resolution imaging, and helping researchers retrieve high-fidelity quantitative data from their images. This talk will present some of the recent technologies we have recently developed. First, I will introduce ZeroCostDL4Mic, an entry-level platform simplifying the application of Deep-Learning (DL) analysis to biological microscopy images, by exploiting free openly-accessible cloud-based computational resources. ZeroCostDL4Mic allows researchers with no coding expertise to train and apply key DL tasks to perform segmentation, object detection, denoising, super-resolution microscopy, and microscopy modality image-to-image translation. We'll demonstrate the application of the platform to study multiple biological processes, including in eucaryotic and procaryotic cells, and to analyze SMLM data. Next, I will cover recent development we have created for super-resolution microscopy through the NanoJ platform, highlighting the new "enhanced Super-Resolution Radial Fluctuations" (eSRRF) approach and its combination with real-time controlled microfluidics live-to-fix cell imaging, dubbed NanoJ-Fluidics, as well as real-time quality control on the predicted superresolution images via the SQUIRREL.  


Exhibitors & Demonstrators







Thursday 10th November 2022: Reprogramming Biology

DNA-based recoding of metabolism or growth to systematically reprogram natural systems

Prof. Jim Collins

Synthetic Biology: Making Biology Programmable

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA

Prof. Jennifer Brophy

Synthetic genetic circuits to modify plant growth

Stanford Bioengineering, USA

Register Here

Thursday 3rd November 2022: Computing for Biology

Impact of machine learning and artificial intelligence on data analysis and predictive modelling in biology

Prof. David Baker

Protein design using deep learning

University of Washington, USA

Dr. Bianca Dumitrascu

Explainable machine learning for single cell biology

Department of Computer Science and Technology, University of Cambridge, UK

Register Here

Thursday 27th October 2022: Microscopy at the Cutting Edge

Novel techniques for optical microscopy and image processing with insights into biological systems

Dr. Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz

Emerging imaging technologies to study cell architecture, dynamics, and function

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Janelia Farm, USA

Dr. Buzz Baum

Imaging hell: archaeal cell division

MRC-Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK

Register Here

Past Events

  • 30 Nov 2015: Taking Modularity to the Genomic Level featuring Tom Ellis (Imperial College) and Mark Isalan (Imperial College)
  • 18 Oct 2016: Sculpting Evolution - Engineering Biology to Adress Global Disease Challenges featuring Dr. Kevin Esvelt (MIT Media Lab) and Prof Luke Alphey (Pirbright Institute, founder of Oxitec Ltd)
  • 19 Oct 2016: Programmable Biology in the Test Tube featuring Dr Vincent Noireaux (University of Minnesota), Dr Nick Rollins (Cambridge Consultants) and Dr Fernan Federici (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and University of Cambridge)
  • 6 Nov 2016: Synthetic Biology for Regenerative Medicine featuring Professor Ron Weiss (MIT)
  • 16 Mar 2017: Programmable Cell Extracts - A New Biomanufacturing Paradigm featuring Dr. Keith Pardee (University of Toronto) and Dr. Richard Kelwick (Imperial College) 
  • 24 Apr 2018: Harnessing Genetic Regulation to Redesign Organisms featuring Prof Chris Voigt (MIT) and Dr Somenath Bakshi (Harvard University)
  • 29 Oct 2018: Engineering Complex Systems in Biology featuring representatives from Mathworks, Microsoft Research, and Nvidia and Sabine Hauert (University of Bristol) and Ricard Sole (University of Pompeu Fabra and head of Complex Systems Lab)
  • 12 Feb 2019: Genetics, Vision & Machine Learning in Biological Systems featuring Dr Ricardo Henriques (UCL) and Dr Brenda Andrews (University of Toronto)
  • 14 May 2019: Engineering Biology featuring Prof Andrew Ellington (University of Texas at Austin) and Prof Michael Jewett (Northwestern University) 
  • 6 Nov 2019: Open Technologies Festival and Biomaker Fayre, Murray Edwards College.
  • 24 Feb 2020: New Sensors for Living Systems featuring Prof. George Malliaras (University of Cambridge) and Dr Karen Polizzi (Imperial College London)

Photos of past forums can be found on our Flickr.

Upcoming Events

There are no upcoming events.