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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 |

Back by popular demand, Cafe Synthetique will return from September 2022! Join us on the first Monday of each month for informal talks, discussion, drinks and snacks and to catch up with engineering biology news and projects from across the Cambridge community.

Started in 2016, the Engineering Biology IRC's (then the Synthetic Biology SRI's) monthly informal Cafe Synthetique meetings have played host to a wide variety of talks from the Cambridge Synthetic and Engineering Biology community. From students, to local biotech companies, and from bioart to next generation crops, Cafe Synthetique aims to bring together the best engineering biology tools, techniques, projects and ideas from across Cambridge in an informal environment. We are an open and welcoming group promoting interdisciplinary discussion and collaboration, and the sharing of ideas and exciting new technologies.


What's it All About?

Cafe Synthetique is a space for members of the Cambridge engineering biology, synthetic biology, biotechnology and bioinnovation communities to meet, learn and discuss. Meetings are open to everyone, from students and academics to those working in industry and policy, social scientists and DIY biologists. Past meetings have spanned a broad range of topics. Examples include:

DIY & Open Technologies

SynBio and Open Technologies for Development

Are Synthetic Biologists Engineers, Tinkerers or Hackers?

Biomaker Africa and Open-Seneca - Cheap, Global Tools for Engineering

Plant Science & Agriculture

Engineering Algae

Next Generation Crops

Hot Tomato!

Molecular Biology & Biological Tools

CRISPR: Genome Editing Comes of Age

Reprogramming the Genome

Writing on DNA: synthesis and information storage

Materials & Biomimicry

Chloroplast Engineering and Biomimetic Materials

Biomimicry and Engineering

Engineering Biology for Real-World Applications

Biomedicine & Medtech

Biosensors for Environmental Surveillance to Women's Health

Synthetic Biology for Global Challenges

Engineering Algae for Energy and Medicine

AI, Machine Learning & Software

AI and Automation - Revolutionising Biology

Vertical AI Workflows in Bioengineering & Smart Microscopy

Policy & Ethics

Innovating SynBio Governance

Using Science to Inform Policy

Teaching Tools for SynBio

Art & Design

The Art & Science Soirée

Designing for the Biocentury

Engineering Living Systems

You can find a full list fo previous Cafe Synthetique events in our archive.

What's New in 2022?

From September 2022 Cafe Synthetique will be held on the first Monday of each month. The format will remain the same, with 1-2 short talks followed by discussion and an opportunity to network, all accompanied by tasty pub snacks and buy-your-own drinks.

Topics will cover many of the same areas as above, 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.

Dates for Your Diary

Get Involved!

If you would like to give a short presentation at an upcoming Cafe Sythetique event in 2022 or 2023, or if you have suggestions for interesting speakers or topics, please do not hesitate to get in touch at

Image Credits: EngBio IRC; Media Studio (Biomedicine & Medtech); D. G. Strange, Department of Engineering (Materials & Biomimicry), LunaFlow Biomaker Team (AI, Machine Learning & Software)