Publication: New methodology for characterization of cell-free genetic networks enables forward engineering

Forward engineering of (cell-free) genetic networks is one of the main goals in the field of synthetic biology. However, despite the vast library of available building blocks for the assembly of these networks, identifying the reaction kinetics to make these building blocks modular for forward engineering remains elusive. In our latest work we established an automated pipeline to produce high-quality time-resolved data through a combination of optimal experimental design, microfluidics and non-linear model identification. We apply this pipeline and progress through a design, characterize test cycle and demonstrate the modularity and predictability of the characterized building blocks in new network configurations. The methodology described in this paper has the potential to enable forward engineering of cell-free genetic networks.

You can find the article here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-31306-3

Congratulations Bob, Roel, Wilhelm and collaborators!

CLASSY consortium meeting in Madrid

CLASSY consortium finally had a chance to meet again in person on June 16-17 in Madrid. This time the meeting was hosted by the group of Andrés de la Escosura from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. Miglė Jakštaitė and Wilhelm Huck were presenting and discussing the progress in enzymatic cascade reactions and process optimisation together with partners from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Universität Graz, ETH Zürich, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Micronit B.V.

More information can be found here.

Podcast series about building a synthetic cell

Over the past months, many PhDs, postdocs, and PIs from Building a Synthetic Cell (BaSyC) consortium  have contributed to a podcast series about our efforts to build a synthetic cell. The Rathenau Instituut, in collaboration with designer Mies Loogman, created this 4-episode podcast series that is called ‘Herschept’ (In Dutch), and the final episode is out now! Ludo Schoenmakers is one of the PhDs from our group that contributed to this podcast series.

More information can be found here.

You can listen to all 4 episodes on Spotify.

Publication: Chemical reaction self-organization offers new insights into the Origin of Life

Four billion years ago, Life emerged from the prebiotic environment. We know many building blocks required for Life may have been present at this point. However, Life is more than the sum of its components. These collections of chemical building blocks had to work together to create Life using only information from their environment and their reactivity. Understanding this phenomenon, ‘self-organization’,is a key piece of the puzzle in understanding the Origin of Life. Our latest work published in Nature Chemistry offers a first glimpse of how patterns in chemical reactivity and the environment can come together to organise systems of chemical reactions.

You can read our work here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41557-022-00956-7
(public view-only version: https://rdcu.be/cO4qW)

Congratulations Will, Lena, Peer, Thijs and Wilhelm!

Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck – Carol Cleland

The Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck is back again for the final episode on Thursday 2nd June, 20h00 CET!

This sixth and final episode of season 2 of the Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck will be streamed live on our YouTube channel Late Night Conference with WH (don’t forget to subscribe & watch our previous exciting episodes!) from Theaterzaal C, where we are excited to have you in our audience!! Get your free ticket here to watch the show LIVE*. Please pay attention – no ticket is needed if you only want to watch the stream on YouTube!

With us will be Carol Cleland, Professor and Director of CU Boulder’s Center of Study of Origins, who will be guiding us through her fantastic research on “What is Life?”!

Carol is Professor and Director of CU Boulder’s Center of Study of Origins and will take us through how we define what is alive. Bring your thinking caps and get ready to participate in the discussion! Join us at Theatrezaal C for this exciting final event of the season and to meet Carol on the big screen & get your questions ready for the live Q&A!

Also don’t miss out our fifth episode of this exciting season. You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram, as well as subscribe to our mailing list for the latest updates.

New paper on A Bayesian Approach to Extracting Kinetic Information from Artificial Enzymatic Networks

We are very excited to share our new paper on Analytical Chemistry entitled “A Bayesian Approach to Extracting Kinetic Information from Artificial Enzymatic Networks”. In this paper authors demonstrate how a Bayesian approach takes into account experimental and modelling uncertainties of enzymatic reaction networks to improve estimations of kinetic parameters.

Congratulations to Mathieu Baltussen, Jeroen van de Wiel, Cristina Lía Fernández Regueiro, Miglė Jakštaitė and Wilhelm Huck!

The paper can be found here: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.analchem.2c00659

IMM PhD Days

Last week (May 16-17) two day off-site PhD Days event was hosted by PPIMM (PhD Panel IMM). During the event PhD students within the IMM gave entry-level presentations of their research. Our group was represented by Thijs de Jong and Miglė Jakštaitė. Besides this, PhD students were discussing variety of different topics like collaboration with other research groups and gender and diversity. Moreover, invited speakers gave workshops and lectures about creative thinking, peer review process and scientific writing.

FMS Annual Meeting

Last week FMS Annual Meeting took place in Zwolle. This year the representative of our group was Thijs de Jong who gave a presentation entitled “Using the formose reaction for reservoir computing”. Many other group members prepared a poster about their research.

Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck – Kate Adamala

The Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck is back again on Friday 6th May, 20h00 CET!

This fifth episode of season 2 of the Late Night Conference with Wilhelm Huck will be streamed live on our YouTube channel Late Night Conference with WH (don’t forget to subscribe & watch our previous exciting episodes!) from Theaterzaal C, where we are excited to have you in our audience!! Get your free ticket here to watch the show LIVE*. Please pay attention – no ticket is needed if you only want to watch the stream on YouTube!

With us will be Kate Adamala, Professor of Genetics at University of Minnesota, who will be guiding us through her fantastic research on Building Artificial Cells!

Kate Adamala wants to make life from scratch! As Professor at University of Minnesota working on the origins of life and building a synthetic cell, Kate’s work touches on astrobiology, synthetic cell engineering, and biocomputing. Kate and her team create tiny bioreactors. These have applications in synthetic biology, drug development and biosensing. Join us at Theatrezaal C while we interview Kate on the big screen & get your questions ready for the live Q&A!

Also don’t miss out our fourth episode of this exciting season. You can follow us on Twitter and Instagram, as well as subscribe to our mailing list for the latest updates.

*corona rules permitting

Growth Fund Grant For Robot Lab

Big congratulations to Wilhelm Huck and and his collaborators for receiving a Growth Fund Grant for Robot Lab! The aim of this new research programme is to combine chemistry and artificial intelligence (AI) in order to build a robot lab!

For more information please click here.