Introduction to Synthetic biology

Do not miss the opportunity to hear Dr. Ralf Kellmann (Dept. of Biology & Hormonlaboratoriet HelseBergen) tell about their effort to use of synthetic biology to produce neosaxitoxin. Neosaxitoxin is one of the paralytic shellfish toxins (PSTs), which are a group of neurotoxic alkaloids produced by algal blooms, i.e. marine dinoflagellates (red tides) and freshwater filamentous cyanobacteria. PSTs reversibly block voltage-gated sodium channels, and recent clinical trials on humans have indicated a positive safety profile for neosaxitoxin as a long-acting local anesthetic. The major challenge with neosaxitoxin and its relatives is the lack of a large-scale production process. We are employing synthetic biology to develop such a large-scale production process for neosaxitoxin, which we envision will be capable of covering the future world-market demand for neosaxitoxin.

Synthetic biology can be defined as: » the design and construction of novel biological pathways, organisms or devices, or the redesign of existing natural biological systems» (UK Royal Society). It is one of the currently fastest growing research fields, enabled by new technologies, such as the chemically synthesis of long (> 100 kb) DNA, and efficient combinatorial cloning techniques. Synthetic biology can be used as a research tool to uncover and characterise novel biochemical pathways, as well as to develop processes for the industrial production NPs and NP-derived derived drugs.

When and where: Thursday Sept 28 at 12.15 in Tripletten.