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SBA Conference 2023

Perth, Western Australia


15-17 November 2023


The University of Western Australia
Wilsmore & Tattershall Lecture Theatres
Perth, Western Australia

Abstract Submission

1 May - Call for abstracts open
15 August - Abstract submission close (extended)
30 August - Short talk notification (extended)

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Registration information

1 July - Early bird registration open
1 Aug - Regular registration open
30 Oct - Registration close

Registrations are now closed

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Welcome to SBA23

Finally we are back in person, and will meet in the sunny city of Perth!

To stay on top of the ever-changing research landscape of synthetic biology in and around Australasia, we are once again hosting our bi-annual conference in November 2023. This year's conference will be an in-person event bringing us all together in Perth, Western Australia on Whadjuk Noongar Boodjar.

At this time of year, you can expect perfect weather in the Noongar season of Kambarang. This season is known for the abundance of wildflowers and exploding colours all around the country. So, look forward to enjoying a cocktail or two in the sun, surrounded by vibrant nature and stroll along the Swan River to see the local river dolphins after listening to the latest research in the field.

Georg Fritz on behalf of the conference organising committee.

P.S.: You may also be interested in the following satellite symposia held back-to-back with SBA23 in Perth:

2nd AusNZ Natural Product Chemistry & Biology Symposium on 13-14 Nov at UWA (link)

1st Western Australian DNA and RNA origami Symposium on 14 Nov at Forrest Hall (link)

Automation Culture: Intersections between Art, Automation, and Living Systems on 17-19 Nov at UWA (link)

Confirmed plenary speakers

Sally Gras

The University of Melbourne
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Sabine Flitsch

The University of Manchester
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Birger Møller

University of Copenhagen
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Confirmed invited speakers

Kirill Alexandrov

Queensland University of Technology
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Ebbe Sloth Andersen

Aarhus University
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Rachel Ankeny

University of Adelaide
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Constance Bailey

The University of Sydney
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Irina Borodina

The Novo Nordisk Center for Biosustainability
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Oron Catts

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Tobias Erb

Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
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Elizabeth Gillam

The University of Queensland
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Matthew Gilliham

The University of Adelaide
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In Young Hwang

Singapore Institute of Technology
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Jessica Kretzmann

The University of Western Australia
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Hsiao-Ching Lin

Academia Sinica
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Ryan Lister

The University of Western Australia
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Ian Small

The University of Western Australia
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Wil Srubar

University of Colorado Boulder
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Nicholas Turner

University of Manchester
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Conference themes

A‍dvanced Therapeutic Technologies

Synthetic biology-inspired therapeutics are among the most exciting developments in the life sciences. From gene and RNA editing to engineered CAR-T-cells, these therapies have the potential to revolutionise the way we approach disease treatment. This theme will feature leading experts discussing the latest advances and applications of these cutting-edge technologies, and the strategies and trends shaping the future of this field. Attendees will gain valuable insights into the range of synthetic biology tools being used in therapeutic development, providing a foundation for further innovation and progress.

Bioactive Small Molecules

Bioactive small molecules have a wide range of applications in fields such as medicine, agriculture, and even materials science. This conference theme will explore the latest developments in synthetic biology-driven production of bioactive small molecules, including the use of metabolic engineering to unlock the potential of silent biosynthetic gene clusters. Experts in the field will discuss how the use of synthetic biology and metabolic engineering can lead to the discovery of novel bioactive small molecules and enable the production of these compounds at scale.

Biosensors and Devices

Biosensors and devices are essential components of synthetic biology, used to detect, measure, and interact with biological or abiotic systems. This theme will focus on the establishment, improvement, and applications of biosensors and devices in areas such as environmental and health-related contexts. From real-time monitoring of contaminants to personalised medicine, biosensors and devices offer new opportunities for understanding and interacting with living systems, and addressing some of the most pressing challenges facing our world today.

Biocatalysis and Enzyme Engineering

This theme will explore the role of synthetic biology in applied biocatalysis, driven by environmental and economic incentives for using enzymes in the synthesis of various pharmaceutical and industrially important chemicals. Engineered enzymes can now outperform the best chemocatalytic alternatives, but custom engineering of a robust biocatalyst remains a time-consuming process. Recent advances in ultrahigh-throughput screening, mutational scanning, DNA synthesis, metagenomics, and machine learning will soon make it possible to accelerate the tailor design of novel biocatalysts, providing significant opportunities for synthetic biologists.

Functional and Self-Assembled Biomaterials

The future of materials lies in the realm of biology, where synthetic biology is playing an increasingly pivotal role in advancing our understanding of living systems and the creation of sustainable materials. With the ability to engineer organisms and systems at the genetic level, synthetic biology presents unprecedented opportunities for the development of materials with enhanced properties and functionalities. From self-assembled nanostructures and living concrete, to functional clothing and advanced medical implants, the potential for synthetic biology in material design is vast and continually expanding.

Energy and Environment

Synthetic biology is playing an increasingly important role in advancing metabolic engineering, offering unprecedented opportunities to engineer organisms and biological systems to produce sustainable solutions to pressing environmental problems. From biofuels and bioplastics to carbon capture and waste remediation, synthetic biology is helping to reduce the impacts of a changing environment and address some of the most pressing environmental challenges we face today.

Future Plants and Foods

Plant synthetic biology will revolutionize agriculture and transform our food systems. By utilizing advanced genetic engineering tools, we will be able to develop crops that are more resilient to environmental stressors such as drought, pests, and disease. Additionally, we will be able to create plants that produce higher yields, and are more nutritious and flavorful. As plant synthetic biology continues to advance, we may even be able to engineer plants to produce novel products, such as medicines or biofuels.

‍Industrial Translation

This special session will explore what it takes to translate synthetic biology research into industrial success stories. Attendees will hear from experts in the field on leveraging the potential of synthetic biology to drive growth and innovation in the Australian bioeconomy. The session will provide valuable insights into strategies for investment and growth, as well as highlight the significant impact synthetic biology can have on industries such as agriculture, manufacturing, and biotechnology.

SynBio Tools

Join leading experts in the field to explore the cutting-edge tools and techniques driving synthetic biology. From genome engineering tools like CRISPR-Cas9, to high-throughput screening methods and protein engineering platforms, this session offers a deep dive into the latest advancements in synthetic biology research. You'll gain valuable insights into the diverse range of tools and applications available, and discover the key trends and strategies shaping the future of the field. This is an essential opportunity for anyone interested in staying up-to-date with the latest advancements in synthetic biology, and learn how these tools are applied across different organisms and applications.

‍SynBio Career Pathways

Transitioning from an academic setting to the professional world can be a daunting prospect. However, the field of synthetic biology offers vast opportunities for scientists to transform their laboratory concepts into practical applications within industry. Whether through the establishment of a personal start-up or by contributing to the advancement of various manufacturing processes, the biotechnology industry presents a promising avenue for the fulfilment of synthetic biologists' career aspirations.

‍Social Responsibility and Ethical Boundaries of Synthetic Biology

As engineers of the biological world, it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of our organisms, devices, and materials for the environment. The early emergence of recombinant DNA technologies and biosecurity meetings like the Asilomar Conference on Recombinant DNA in California in 1975 marked an integral part of biotechnology and the soon-to-emerge field of synthetic biology. Since then, it has been essential for synthetic biologists to consider the potential consequences of their work. We want to discuss what ethical boundaries we face in our work and what social responsibility we have to the broader public.


SBA 2023 Program
Download pdf

Ready to join us?

Registration includes all morning and afternoon teas, lunches, an excursion, and the conference dinner. Click the link below for pricing information and to book your spot!

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We are grateful to the sponsors of SBA’23! If you would like to become a sponsor please email us.

Diamond sponsors

Platinum sponsors

Gold sponsors

Silver sponsors

Organising Committee


Georg Fritz (The University of Western Australia)

Committee Members

Andrew Marshall (The University of Western Australia), Anwar Sunna (Macquarie University), Birgitta Ebert (The University of Queensland), Cameron Evans (The University of Western Australia), Charlotte Williams (CSIRO), Jessica Kretzmann (The University of Western Australia), Mark Calcott (Victoria University of Wellington), Oliver Mead (CSIRO), Patrick Schilling (CSIRO), Rashika Sood (Macquarie University), Rebecca Wolters (The University of Western Australia), Tara Pukala (The University of Adelaide), Yit-Heng-Chooi (The University of Western Australia)

Scientific Advisory Committee

Archa Fox (The University of Western Australia), Bernd Rehm (Griffith University), Elizabeth Gillam (The University of Queensland), Emily Parker (Victoria University of Wellington), ‍Esteban Marcellin Saldana (The University of Queensland), Ionat Zurr (The University of Western Australia), ‍Jenny Mortimer (The University of Adelaide), Keith Shearwin (The University of Adelaide), Kirill Alexandrov (Queensland University of Technology), Robert Speight (CSIRO)

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