Synthetic life: how far could it go? How far should it go?

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Tuesday 13 October

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Argonne's Midwest Center for Structural Genomics deposits 1,000th protein structure

    Credit: Matt Howard via Wikimedia Commons
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Standard £12

Concession £8

Associate £6

Free to Members, Faraday Members and Fellows

Event description

Synthetic biology is a new, intriguing technology that could have a huge impact on humans and our environment. Writer and broadcaster Adam Rutherford will chair a panel of experts, including Louise Horsfall, Paul Freemont, Susan Molyneux-Hodgson and Robert Edwards.

They will outline the process of designing and building new life forms and discuss the ethical challenges we will face. What impact could synthetic biology have on everyday life, and how far could we, and should we, take this revolutionary science?

Event Partners

This event is organised in partnership with the Royal Society of Biology and the Biochemical Society as part of Biology Week 2015.

About the speakers

Robert Edwards is Head of the School of Agriculture, Food & Development at Newcastle University. His interests are focussed on the biotransformation of synthetic compounds and natural products in plants and the manipulation of these pathways for applications in crop protection and biorefining using technologies including synthetic biology.

Paul Freemont is Co-director of Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation at Imperial College London. The Centre aims to develop foundational technologies to enable synthetic biology research in application areas like biosensors,  biosynthesis, bioprocessing and metabolic and genome engineering and enable the translation of new synthetic biology technologies into industry.

Louise Horsfall is a Lecturer in Biotechnology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in multidisciplinary challenges involving Biotechnology, Synthetic Biology, Novel Enzymes and Protein Engineering. She is currently the elected co-chair of the Bioengineering and Bioprocessing Section of the European Federation of Biotechnology and a member of the EPSRC's Early Career Forum in Manufacturing Research.

Susan Molyneux-Hodgson
is Director of Research, Department of Sociological Studies, University of Sheffield. Susan co-founded and is currently Director of SATIS (Science and Technology in Society) research group in Sheffield. Her research is focused on three substantive areas: the sociology of scientific communities; science and society relations, and; interdisciplinary collaboration.


This event will be filmed and availble to watch on the Ri Channel a few weeks afterwards.

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