Synthetic Biology Activities

From setting up a Biofoundry at UF/IFAS to educating others about the power of SynBio

Our monthly webinars feature rising stars and SynBio pioneers from academia and industry

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October 3, 2023

    UF SynBio Webinar - Scott Lenaghan


    October 3, 2023  11:00 am - 12:00 pm Zoom

    Expanding the Toolbox for Plant Synthetic Biology

    Scott Lenaghan
    Associate Professor, University of Tennessee

    Scott Lenaghan | Department of Food Science (

    While the installation of complex genetic circuits in microorganisms is relatively routine, the plant synthetic biology toolbox is comparably sparse. In order to repurpose plants as ‘devices’ that provide function in both the built environment, as well as in the more traditional agricultural setting, it is critical that the plant synthetic biology toolbox undergoes transformational growth. Associated with this growth is well-characterized validation of parts libraries, components, and modules to enable the assembly of more complex circuits. In this presentation, a bottom-up approach to the development of plants as sensors, phytosensors, will be discussed, along with other strategies that expand the plant synthetic biology toolbox for a variety of applications.

    Co-organized by Catalin Voiniciuc and Andrew Hanson
    See more details

Advances in Plant Synthetic Biology

HOS6932, Section 3355, Class 013290, 3 Graduate Credits

Dr. Voiniciuc and Dr. Andrew Hanson are co-teaching a new SynBio graduate course, which also features guest lectures by Dr. Edmar R. Oliveira-Filho. Space in this online course is limited due to the interactive format.

Course Description

This course is designed to introduce graduate students to the basic principles of synthetic biology (SynBio) as well as the latest advances in this emerging field. Topics will include the implementation of Design-Build-Test-Learn cycles for metabolic pathways and regulatory circuits, directed evolution, and biofoundry-driven automation. Emphasis will be on plant systems, with bacterial and yeast systems included when appropriate to accelerate the study of plant enzymes and products. This online class will enable state-wide participation and combine lectures with interactive discussions and activities. Due to team-based activities, class registration is limited to only 16 students. Part of the final assignment (5% of course-grade) will require an in-person interview with a scientist at one of the UF/IFAS research facilities. This class will empower students to identify, evaluate, and effectively present SynBio innovations that address agricultural challenges.

95% Online, Synchronous

Meeting Dates
10:40-11:30 am on Mon, Wed, Fri

First Class
August 23, 2023

Last Class
December 6, 2023