It is approaching that time of year again for the 6th annual International Workshop on Bio-Design Automation ( IWBDA). This event, which spans from June 11th-12th  in Boston, Massachusetts, brings together researchers, entrepreneurs, industrialists, and students who focus their work on the computational analysis and synthesis of biological systems. Every year this event brings together intellectuals who focus on synthetic biology, systems biology, and design automation, and helps fuel their passions, showcase their work, and ultimately allows for collaboration. Unlike a traditional conference, which is bogged down with a lot of speakers and companies throwing their products at you, this event is going for more of a workshop feel that thrives on development and the spreading of knowledge about the growing field of synthetic biology.

This event chooses quality over quantity in the sense that there will be only about 100 people in attendance. A small number like this really allows for an intimate setting and will assure that each person will be given the chance to speak to everyone at the event. Both this year’s sponsorship list or list of keynote speakers are not public yet, but in the past we have seen big companies contribute such as Autodesk and Agilent Technologies as well as organizations like the NSF and SynBERC. For a synthetic biologist of any degree, it would be a wise investment to attend this workshop, for it is a great place to bring questions as well as a place that brews inspiration and insight to what can and will be accomplished. As a bonus meals are provided by the organization as well as a tour of Fenway park.

I had the privilege of speaking to Professor Douglas Densmore whom is the director of the Cross-disciplinary Integration of Design Automation Research (CIDAR) at Boston University, and helped start the Bio-Design Automation Consortium (BDAC), which is the non-profit organization throwing this event. Professor Densmore began his studies as a computer scientist and electrical engineer, but later shifted his focus towards synthetic biology after Chris Voigt. introduced him to the immerging potential of genetic gates. This field captivated Professor Densmore because he specializes in logic synthesis and translating high-level descriptions of biological functions into digital design was a completely new challenge for him.

Professor Douglas Densmore is an all-star of sorts in the field of synthetic biology, which is not only, displayed by his numerous awards, but also by his range of research. Professor Densmore has developed and is continuously evolving a diverse set of tools, which help biologists with specification, design, and assembly. At this conference you can count on Densmore’s team in attendance and prepared to discuss their work.

 

Registration is still available for the IWBDA so sign up!

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Jacob Kurzrock

Jacob Kurzrock is a recent graduate from the University of California at Davis where he earned a bachelors of science in the field of Biological Systems Engineering. As an undergraduate he had a wide range of exposure to different labs and companies from the Plant Reproductive Biology to Amyris and then to CleanWorld. For his senior design project he helped design, build, wire, and program a strawberry harvest aid robot. In his free time you might see him brewing beer, playing basketball, or just hanging out on the beautiful beaches of Tel Aviv. On his return to California in fall 2014 he will be looking for a job so give him an offer before someone else does.

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