International Workshop

on Control Engineering and Synthetic Biology


Workshop photo.jpg

An International Workshop on Control Engineering and Synthetic Biology' will be held from the 9th to the 11th of September 2019 at Worcester College, Oxford. This event is supported by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), under projects EP/M002187/1 and EP/M002454/1.

Organisers: Guy-Bart Stan (Imperial College London), Antonis Papachristodoulou (University of Oxford), Harrison Steel (University of Oxford).

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Designing and implementing effective feedback control in living cells has the potential to dramatically change biotechnology. However, before this potential is realised, a number of theoretical and practical challenges must be addressed, which lie at the interface between control engineering and synthetic biology. This workshop will discuss both the challenges and the opportunities that Synthetic Biology offers. A specific focus will be on the “next grand challenges” the field of synthetic biology and how control engineering can address them. An exceptional group of speakers, world leaders in synthetic biology and control engineering, will present recent progress, identify challenges and share their vision of where synthetic biology is headed and how the control engineering community can contribute to delivering its promise.

  • Control Engineering Themes:

Modelling, analysis, and design of reliable synthetic circuits as well as regulation of synthetic processes.

  • Synthetic Biology Themes:

Challenges and opportunities for implementing designs and enabling effective synthetic regulation and control.


Registration has now closed.

Invited Speakers

Dr. Gregory Batt - Institut Pasteur

Dr. Guillaume Cambray - INRA

Prof. Lionel Clarke - UK Synthetic Biology Leadership Council

Prof. Jason Chin - MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology

Prof. Domitilla del Vecchio - MIT

Prof. John Doyle - Caltech

Dr. Guilia Giordano - TU Delft

Dr. Thomas Gorochowski - University of Bristol

Dr. Jose Jimenez - University of Surrey

Prof. Eric Klavins - University of Washington

Prof. Mustafa Khammash - ETH Zurich

Dr. Andrew Phillips - Microsoft Research Cambridge

Prof. Lingchong You - Duke University

There will be a number of shorter presentations by early-career researchers and students, which will be confirmed closer to the workshop. These will be selected from the submitted poster abstracts.

Workshop schedule

Time Monday Sep 9 Tuesday Sep 10 Wednesday Sep 11
9 AM - 9:45 AM Eric Klavins

A Systems Approach to
Protein Engineering

Jason Chin

Reprogramming the
Genetic Code.

9:45 AM - 10:30 AM Andrew Phillips

Programming Languages for
Molecular and Genetic Circuits

Lionel Clarke

From Synbio to

10:30 AM - 11:00 AM Registration Break Break
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM Mustafa Khammash

A Universal Biomolecular Integral Feedback
Controller for Robust Perfect Adaptation

ECR Session

Nadanai Laohakunakorn
and Harrison Steel

ECR Session

Tomislav Pesa
and Davide Fiore

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM Giulia Giordano

Structural properties of biological systems:
from analysis to design

ECR Session

Johann Elbaz
and Wooli Bae

Guillaume Cambray

Probing sequence spaces and biological
activities with synthetic biology:
from translation efficiency to entire viruses.

12:30 PM - 2:00 PM Lunch Lunch Lunch
2:00 PM - 2:45 PM ECR Session

Michaëlle Mayalu, Diego Oyarzun,
and Ciarán Kelly

John Doyle

Laws, levels, and layers
in cellular architecture

Thomas Gorochowski

Towards a complete and quantitative
view of genetic circuit function

2:45 PM - 3:30 PM Poster session

(starting 3:10PM)

Poster session
Summary and closing remarks
3:30 PM - 4:00 PM Break Break
4:00 PM - 4:45 PM Jose Jimenez

Cell economics: The interplay between growth
and gene expression in bacteria.

Gregory Batt

Balancing a genetic toggle switch by real-
time control and periodic stimulations.

4:45 PM - 5:30 PM Lingchong You

Living patterns, structures
and materials.

Domitilla del Vecchio

Resource competition and its mitigation
through quasi-integral control.

Dinner, 6:45PM, in Hall Gala Dinner in Hall

Pre-dinner drinks at 7pm in Cloisters.

Additional Information


Everyone participating in the workshop is invited to bring a poster to display their work. Please include a poster title, author list, and abstract in your registration if you wish to present a poster. Poster boards are 120cm by 90cm (A0 Landscape), so please ensure your printed poster will fit within this area.

Delegate leaflet

The delegate leaflet containing our welcoming message, programme of talks, poster abstracts, and travel information will be posted closer to the workshop.


The aspect ratio of the projector screen is 16:9.


If you use Twitter, please label your tweets with the hashtag #synbiocontrol2019 for easy searching and sorting.


Location of the Workshop

The Sultan Nazrin Shah Centre, Worcester College, 1 Walton Street, Oxford, OX1 2HB. Upon arrival report to the Worcester College main lodge/entrance, and you will be directed to the conference centre from there or follow a map of the college.

Accommodation for Attendees

A wide array of hotel/accommodation venues are available in or near Oxford city centre. For cost-effective and proximal college accommodation we recommend checking University Rooms.

Travel Information

Worcester college is a 10 minute walk from Oxford Train Station, or a 5 minute walk from Oxford Central Bus Station. The train from central London takes approximately one hour. Bus transport is available from major London airports to Oxford. If you are flying into the UK from abroad, the most accessible airport is Heathrow (travel time to Oxford about 1 hour), which has regular bus transfers to Oxford.