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International Workshop

on Control Engineering and Synthetic Biology


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.


To register please complete the registration form here and return it to Payment can be completed via the University of Oxford website here.

Early-bird registration (before July 1st): £300 for academics and members of industry. £200 for students and post-doctoral researchers.

Final registration (before August 20th): £350 for academics and members of industry. £250 for students and post-doctoral researchers.

An additional (optional) payment of £50 is required for the banquet in the Worcester College dining hall on the night of September 10th.

Confirmed 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
8.30 AM Coffee Coffee
8.50 AM Introduction
9 AM - 9:45 AM Mustafa Khammash

Theory and methods for biomolecular control systems

Richard Murray

Recombinase-based circuits
for environmental detection diagnostics, and logging

9:45 AM - 10:30 AM

Mario di Bernardo

Design, implementation and in-silico analysis
of multi-cellular feedback control strategies
in synthetic bacterial consortia

Hana El Samad

Real-time optogenetic compensation strategies
to operationally investigate feedback regulation

10:30 AM - 11 AM Coffee Break Coffee Break
11 AM -11:45 AM Michael Roberts

Precision in gene regulation using synthetic promoters

Velia Siciliano

The second wave of mammalian synthetic biology:
engineering safer synthetic devices

11:45 AM - 12:30 PM Richard Hammond

Finding needles in haystacks: a high-throughput
platform for genetic constructs screening

Yvonne Chen

Engineering next-generation T cells
for cancer immunotherapy

12:30 PM - 2 PM Lunch / Poster session Lunch / Poster session
2 PM - 2:45 PM Peter Swain

Distributing tasks via multiple input pathways
increases survival in stress

Andrew Phillips

Programming languages for molecular and genetic devices

2:45 PM - 3:30 PM Hidde de Jong

Natural and synthetic control
of resource allocation in bacteria

Giovanni Russo

How to synchronize and de-synchronize biochemical circuits

3:30 PM - 4:15 PM Coffee break / Poster session Coffee break / Poster session
4:15 PM - 5 PM Brian Ingalls

Synthetic biology approaches to suppression of antibiotic resistance:
toward model-based design

Francesca Ceroni

Characterisation of host-construct interactions
for synthetic biology

5 PM - 5:45 PM Poster session (5-6 PM) Jeff Hasty

Engineered gene circuits: from clocks to synchronized delivery

6 PM - 7 PM Networking / Free time Final remarks

Where do we go from here?

7 PM-10 PM Dinner for the speakers

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.

Workshop schedule

Workshop schedule will be provided closer to the workshop.


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.

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.