Keynote speakers


Prof. Jean-Loup Faulon (INRA, France)

J.L. Faulon is a senior research director at the French National Institute for Agronomical Research (INRA) and also a Professor in Synthetic Biology at the University of Manchester. In the past, he has been the director of the Institute of Systems & Synthetic Biology in France and a distinguished research scientist at US DOE laboratories. For most of his career, he has been leading interdisciplinary research in synthetic biology and computational biology. He is renowned for his work on computer-aided design and retrosynthesis in biology. Originally developed in the context of metabolic engineering, the tools and protocols developed by his group are also used to engineer biosensors and for biocomputing in whole-cell and cell-free systems.


Prof. Joyce Tait (University of Edinburgh, UK)

Joyce Tait (Innogen Institute and Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, University of Edinburgh) has an interdisciplinary background linking natural and social sciences to support the delivery of innovative technologies. She has worked on: strategic planning for innovation, regulation and standards, and stakeholder influences; in the following innovation areas: GM, synthetic biology and gene editing; genetic databases; pharmaceuticals and antimicrobial resistance; cell therapies and regenerative medicine; diagnostic devices; FinTech; and stratified and translational medicine. Appointments include: Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology; the Synthetic Biology Leadership Council (and Chair of its Governance Subgroup).


Dr. Huimin Zhao (University of Illinois, United States)

H. Zhao is the Steven L. Miller Chair of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  He received his B.S. degree in Biology from the University of Science and Technology of China in 1992 and his Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology in 1998 under the guidance of Nobel Laureate Frances Arnold.  Dr. Zhao has authored and co-authored over 320 research articles and over 25 issued and pending patent applications with several being licensed by industry. Twenty-five of his former graduate students and postdocs are pursuing academic careers.


Prof. Patrick Yizhi Cai (University of Manchester, United Kingdom)

P. Y. Cai received his bachelor degree in Computer Science from China, a masters’ degree in Bioinformatics from University of Edinburgh, UK and PhD in Genetics, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology from Virginia Tech, USA. He did his postdoctoral fellowship from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prof. Cai serves as a senior scientific consultant to Beijing Genomics Institute and is the first Autodesk distinguished scholar. From 2013 to 2017, Prof. Cai lead his research group at the University of Edinburgh with a prestigious Chancellor's Fellowship where his lab focused on computer assisted design for synthetic biology, neochromosome design and synthesis in the yeast and DNA assembly automation. In the summer of 2017, he moved to the University of Manchester as the new chair professor in synthetic genomics. He co-founded Edinburgh Genome Foundry, the International Centre for Synthetic Genomics at BGI, and the GP-Write China Centre at Chinese Academy of Sciences.