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2018 Synthetic Biotechnology Training Course for Developing Countries (2nd announcement)

Published: Friday,05 Jan 2018 Author: COEBIO

2018 Synthetic Biotechnology Training Course for Developing Countries
  1st TWAS Symposium on Plant Natural Product Synthesis by Microbes
 (Second Announcement)

Dear colleagues and friends, welcome to 2018 Synthetic Biotechnology Training Course for Developing Countries, Jointly 1st TWAS Symposium on Plant Natural Product Synthesis by Microbes.

Starting from 2013, CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology (CoEBio) is organizing a series of biotechnology training courses to advance the development of biotechnology in developing countries. In the past 5 years, courses were successfully held in Beijing, Luzhou, China and Bangkok, Thailand. More than 200 participants from 30 countries, attended the past courses.

This year’s training will focus on the theme of ““microbial synthesis of plant-derived compounds”. It will not only expose participants to the state-of-the-art trends in synthetic biotechnology, but also instruct how to set-up, design and perform research projects and how to write grant proposals. We hope to spread these relevant knowledge and skills through the training courses, with the aim to initiate and stimulate the synthetic biotechnology research in developing countries. Additionally, we also want to group the excellent researchers both from developed and developing countries during this time and get connection with each other. Thus, a symposium about plant natural product synthesis by microbes will also be arranged during this event. The trainees are invited to attend the symposium and some will be selected to present their work, and to have chances to communicate with more speakers and experts for understanding the recent trends of synthetic biotechnology.

More than 60 participants from 18 countries, including Thailand, Nigeria, Kenya, Pakistan, India, Egypt, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sudan, Tunisia, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Morocco, South Africa, the United States, Australia, Japan and China are selected in this event.

Please find the program of 2018 training course & symposium as follows: 

Program of 2018 Synthetic Biotechnology Training Course 
Theme: Microbial Synthesis of Plant-Derived Compounds

January 15th, Monday 

10:00 - 21:00


January 16th, Tuesday

 9:30 - 10:00

Opening Ceremony

10:00 - 12:00 

Engineered Biosynthesis of Medicinal Natural Products
   Prof. Ikuro ABE, The University of Tokyo, Japan

13:30 - 15:20

Engineering plant secondary metabolite biosynthesis in microorganisms
   Prof. Mattheos Koffas, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA

15:40 - 17:30

Fine-tuning of metabolic pathways for enhanced production of flavonoids
   Prof. Jingwen Zhou, Jiangnan University, China

17:30 - 18:00

Brief introduction to CoEBio & lab tour to CAS Key Lab of Microbial Physical and Metabolic Engineering, IMCAS
   Prof. Bo Yu, Institute of Microbiology, CAS

January 17th, Wednesday

8:30 - 10:10

Creating Designer Pathways for Biosynthesis in Microbial Production Systems
   Prof. Claudia Schmidt-Dannert, University of Minnesota, USA

10:40 - 12:30

A biosynthetic way to expand the diversity of natural products with sugars
   Prof. Yihua Chen, Institute of Microbiology, CAS

13:30 - 15:20

Synthesis of plant natural products by synthetic biology in yeast
   Prof. Huifeng Jiang, Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, CAS

15:40 -18:00

Workshop on proposal design

January 18th, Thursday

9:00 - 18:00

1st TWAS Symposium on Plant Natural Product Synthesis by Microbes

January 19th, Friday


1st TWAS Symposium on Plant Natural Product Synthesis by Microbes

10:00 - 11:00

Proposal presentation and comments on proposals
   (group 1 to 4, each 15 min)

11:30 - 12:00

Award on the winner of best proposal
           Closing remarks

Program of 1st TWAS Symposium on Plant Natural Product Synthesis by Microbes 

January 18th, Thursday

09:00 - 09:20

Opening Ceremony

09:20 - 09:45

Mapping the terpenoid natural products diversity of mushrooms
   Prof. Claudia Schmidt-Dannert, University of Minnesota, USA

09:45 - 10:10

Discovery of new bioactive secondary metabolites from medicinal mushrooms: Identification, Biosynthesis, and Bioactivity Evaluation
   Prof. Hongwei Liu, Institute of Microbiology, CAS

10:10 - 10:35

Biosynthesis of Licorice Triterpenoids and monoglucosyl-glycyrrhetinic acid in yeast
   Prof. Chun Li, Beijing Institute of Technology, China

11:00 - 11:25

Synthetic biology tools for engineering metabolic pathways and networks
   Prof. Claudia Vickers, University of Queensland, Australia

11:25 - 11:50

Production of bioactive ginsenosides in metabolically engineered yeast
   Prof. Zhihua Zhou, Shanghai Institute of Plant Physiology and Ecology, CAS

11:50 - 12:15

Biosynthesis of 2-(2-phenylethyl)chromones in Agarwoods
   Prof. Shepo Shi, Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, China

13:35 - 14:00

Production of phytochemicals and fatty acids in recombinant microorganisms using metabolic pathway balancing
   Prof. Mattheos Koffas, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA

14:00 -14:25

Metabolic engineering for sustainably producing valuable chemicals
   Prof. Ping Xu, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China

14:25 -14:50

Biosynthesis of silybin: in vivo and in vitro processes
   Prof. Jingwen Zhou, Jiangnan University, China

14:50 -15:15

Biosensor-aided high-throughput screening of hyper-producing cells for malonyl-CoA-derived products
   Prof. Shuangyan Tang, Institute of Microbiology, CAS

15:15 -15:40

Biosynthesis of breviscapine in engineered yeast through genomic analysis and synthetic biology
   Prof. Huifeng Jiang, Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, CAS

16:05 -16:30

Metabolic engineering of Pichiapastoris for production of the biofuel isobutanol and the plant volatile ester isobutyl acetate
   Dr.Weerawat Runguphan, National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Thailand


Design and biosynthesis of dimerizedalboflaviusin with better bioactivities
   Prof. Yihua Chen, Institute of Microbiology, CAS


Development of microbial enzymes for modification of polyphenolicglucosides
   Dr. Samiullah Khan, Quaid-i-Azam University,Pakistan


Reconstructing biosynthetic pathway of plant-derived cancer chemopreventive-precursor glucoraphanin in Escherichia coli
   Prof. Bo Yu, Institute of Microbiology, CAS


Proposal revise and presentation preparation (trainees)

January 19th, Friday

09:00 - 09:25

Microbial production of salidroside and gastrodin
   Prof. Tao Liu, Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, CAS

09:25 -09:50

The importance and applications of plant natural products
   Prof. Hamed M El-Shora, Mansoura University, Egypt


2018 Synthetic Biotechnology Training Course Closing remarks

Invited Speakers

5a4efa26c40d8.pngDr. Ikuro Abe
Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences,
The University of Tokyo

Ikuro Abe received his B.S. (1984) and Ph.D. (1989) from The University of Tokyo, under the direction of Professor Yutaka Ebizuka, where he studied chemistry and biochemistry of natural products biosynthesis. After two years postdoctoral research with Professor Guy Ourisson at the CNRS Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles, and mostly with Professor Michel Rohmer at the EcoleNationaleSupérieure de Chimie de Mulhouse (1989-1991), he moved to the USA to work with Professor Glenn D. Prestwich at the State University of New York at Stony Brook (1991-1996) and then at The University of Utah (1996-1998). He returned to Japan to join the faculty at School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Shizuoka (1998-2009), and is currently Professor of natural Products Chemistry at Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, The University of Tokyo (2009-). His research interests mostly focus on exploring and engineering the natural products biosynthesis.

5a4efa584dcc1.pngDr. Mattheos Koffas
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, USA

Mattheos Koffas is the Dorothy and Fred Chau ’71 Endowed Professor in the department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the Career Development Professor of the Biocatalysis Constellation at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute since 2011. He received his PhD from MIT in 2001 under the supervision of Professor Gregory Stephanopoulos where he worked on amino acid production from Corynebacteriumglutamicum. He was a Visiting Research Scientist at DuPont Central Research from 2001 to 2002 where he worked on methanotrophic bacteria, resulting in nine patents. He works in the field of metabolic engineering and systems biotechnology with particular emphasis on the biosynthesis of natural products. He is the Editor of Biotechnology Advances and Metabolic Engineering Communications. He currently serves on the editorial board of several Journals, including the Current Opinion in Biotechnology, Metabolic Engineering, Biotechnology Journal, Biochemical Engineering Journal and Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering. He has published more than 80 peer review papers and holds a number of patents some of which have been commercialized. He was recently elected a fellow of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering society.

5a4efa65ea332.pngDr. Jingwen Zhou
Jiangnan University, China

Jingwen Zhou received his Ph.D in Fermentation Engineering, at Jiangnan University in 2009, his M.S. in Microbiology at Huazhong Agricultural University in 2006 and a B.A. in Food Science and Technology at Huazhong Agricultural University in 2003. He is a Professor of Lab of Biosystems and Bioprocess Engineering in the School of Biotechnology at Jiangnan University. His research areas include: metabolic engineering of microorganisms for the efficient production of keto acids (pyruvic acid and α-ketoglutaric acid) and plant natural products (flavonoids and L-ascorbic acid), development of strategies related to carbon-nitrogen balance regulation, fine-tuning of metabolic pathway and high-throughput screening. He has over 60 peer reviewed publications and invited reviews, and awarded with National Award for Technological Invention 2nd Prize, WIPO-SIPO Award for Chinese Outstanding Patented Invention, and ACS membership award.

5a4efa6fc40d8.pngDr. Claudia Margarete Schmidt-Dannert
Dept. BiochemistryMolecular Biology and Biophysics &Biotechnology Institute
University of Minnesota, USA

Dr. Claudia Schmidt-Dannert is a Distinguished McKnight Professor and Kirkwood Chair of Biochemistry in the Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biophysics at the University of Minnesota. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at the National Research Center for Biotechnology (GBF) in Braunschweig, she went to the University of Stuttgart to lead the Molecular Biotechnology Group in the Institute of Technical Biochemistry. She received a habilitation-fellowship from the German Science Foundation for her research proposal on in vitro pathway evolution and with this project, joined Frances Arnold’s group at the California Institute of Technology to carry out her research on “molecular breeding of pathways” using carotenoid biosynthesis as a model system. After accepting a faculty position at the University of Minnesota, she continued to engineer microbial cells with new pathways and properties for biocatalysis and biosynthesis by mixing and matching enzymes from plant and microbial sources. Current research efforts in her group focus on harnessing the biosynthetic potential of higher fungi and engineering biological systems for more efficient multi-enzyme biocatalysis and biosynthesis using synthetic biology approaches. More recently, her laboratory is engineering self-organizing protein nanoarchitectures for biocatalysis and living biomaterials with emergent biological functions. During her tenure at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Schmidt-Dannert has published numerous manuscripts, patents and book chapters; serves as Editor and board member of several journals and received several awards such as a David and Lucile Packard Fellowship and McKnight Fellow- and Professorships.

5a4efa8fd7205.pngDr. Yihua Chen
State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources, Institute of Microbiology, CAS

Dr. YihuaChen received his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry and molecular biology at the Institute of Microbiology, CAS in 2005. After five years postdoctoral research in Prof. Ben Shen’s Lab in University of Wisconsin-Madison, he started his own research group in the Institute of Microbiology, CAS in 2011. He has been awarded by the Hundred Talent Program of CAS in 2012. His research lies at the crossroads of bacterial genetics and natural product chemistry, with emphasis on biosynthetic mechanisms of microbial natural products and discovery of new small molecule drug leads through genome mining and combinatorial biosynthesis.


Dr. Huifeng Jiang
Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, CAS

Huifeng Jiang received his Ph.D. (2008) from Kunming Institution of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and was a postdoctoral fellow at Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University between 2008 and 2012. He was a principle investigator in Tianjin Institute of Industrial Biotechnology, Chinese Academy of Sciences (TIB-CAS) since 2012. Dr. Jiang's research focuses on understanding the origin and evolution of plant specialized metabolism at enzyme, pathway, and systems levels. Through synthetic biology and metabolic engineering approaches, he develops new platforms for producing high-value natural products in a sustainable manner. Dr. Jiang has won numerous awards in his career, including The Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2014), Tianjin Thousand Youth Talents Plan (2014) and Tianjin Innovative talent promotion program (2015). Until now he has published more than 30 papers in PNAS, Genome Research, PLoS Genetics, Cell Research, Molecular Biology and Evolution, Biotechnology for Biofuels, Scientific Reports and so on.

Information of the Hotel Venue

Ya'ao International Hotel Beijing
 Tel: 86-10- 64874433
 Address: No.1 Datun Road Beishatan Chaoyang District,Beijing

Accommodation from January 15th to 19th will be covered by CoEBio
 As our guest you will be provided with:
 * Breakfast Buffet (6:30 am - 9:30 am)
 * Free WIFI access

 After12:00 on January 15th in the afternoon.
 Before January19th, 2:00 p.m. (A late check-out fee will be charged after 2 pm)

Emergency Contact in the Hotel:

The volunteers from CoEBio would offer necessary assistance during your stay in the hotel, if you have an emergency, please contact them.
 Fitsum Tigu YIFAT :15652706721
 Olufemi Emmanuel BANKEFA :13146798862
 Fan YANG: 18121757858
 Fei WANG: 13260278299

For any details and questions about the training course, please contact:

Ms. Dandan Luo
Programme Manager
CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology
Institute of Microbiology Chinese Academy of Sciences
No. 1 Beichen West Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101
Tel: +86-10-64807351, 13661242150

Transportation from Airport to Ya'ao International Hotel Beijing

Airport Shuttle:
Arrival: Take Shuttle Bus Line 6 to destination “Ya'ao International Hotel Beijing”(亚奥国际酒店,原劳动大厦) . The charge is 30RMB per person.

Departure: Take Shuttle Bus Line 6 at “Ya'ao International Hotel Beijing” to the airport.
Working time: 5:20 am-8:00 pm, interval: 40 min.


The Ya'ao International Hotel Beijing is about 30 kilometers away from the capital airport. It takes approximately 1hr and costs about 120RMB. Please follow the taxi signage of the airport to take the official taxi of Beijing. Please print the cards when you are taking the taxi from Beijing capital international airport to Ya'ao International hotel.


Transportation from Railway Station to Ya'ao International Hotel Beijing 

 There are 4 railway stations in Beijing, please check the map to find proper ways of taking buses and subways to go to the hotel.
 By bus, please get off at bus stop "Beishatan Qiaodong".
 By subway, please get off at subway station "Beishatan" in line15, or get off at "Olympic park" station in Line8 (exit H/I), and take bus to "Beishatan Qiaodong".
 By Taxi, please tell the driver to take you to "Datunlu, Beishatan qiaoxi".


Transportation from Hotel to Beijing Capital Airport

Airport Shuttle:

Departure: Take Shuttle Bus Line 6 at “Ya'ao International Hotel Beijing” to the airport T2-T1-T3.
Working time: 5:20 am-8:00 pm, interval: 40 min.
Bus ticket price: 30RMB


Ya'ao International Hotel Beijing is about 30 kilometers away from the capital airport. It takes approximately 60 minutes and costs about 100RMB. Please follow the taxi signage of the airport to take the official taxi of Beijing. Please print the cards when you are taking the taxi from the hotel to airport.


Kindly reminder:

If your flight tickets were partially borne by CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology, for reimbursement purpose, please nicely keep your boarding pass and give it to us together with a copy of the first page of your passport and the copy of the Chinese visa (you can just give us your passport during the training and we will make the copy for you).

Please check the daily weather forecast of Beijing online:

Insurance and Liability:

The Organizing Committee accepts NO responsibility for accidents, illness, loss of life or loss of property incurred by participants or partners while in transit to and from the training course or during the training course and their stay in China. All foreign scientists are required to have valid Health Insurance to cover yourself against accident or illness during your stay in China.

Physical Examination:

Please take a Physical Examination in your country before coming to China and carry your Physical Examination Result with you during your stay here together with your passport.


Medical Services:

Medical services are of a high standard and most international prescription drugs are readily available through retail pharmacies. It is suggested that you bring personal medical insurance for the duration of the trip.



In China, only Chinese Yuan (CNY/RMB) is used. Please exchange some Chinese Yuan before your coming. Currency exchange can be made at banks or exchange agencies at airports, hotels and large shopping centers. At present, the exchange rate is about CNY 6.50 for 1 US Dollar. Notes come in 100, 50, 20, 10, 5, and 1 Yuan denominations. Coins come in 10c, 50c denominations. We advise you to keep your receipt in case you wish to change RMB back to foreign currency.
Major international credit cards such as Visa, Master, American Express, Diners Club, JCB are accepted in many department stores and hotels. However, it might be difficult to draw cash by using credits cards.

Time Zone:

China Standard Time (Beijing Standard Time) is eight (8) hours ahead of UTC/GMT, which means Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 8 hr (=MET)

Power Supply:

The standard voltage in China is 220 volts, 50Hz. The below plugs are usually used. If your appliances plug has a different shape, you may need a plug adapter.



Help Lines:

Police: 110
Traffic Police: 122
Local Telephone Number Inquiry: 114
Weather forecast: 121
Time Inquiry: 117
Medical emergency call: 120
Fire Alarm: 119