Supported by the Chinese Academy of Sciences(CAS) and The World Academy of Sciences(TWAS), the 2018 Synthetic Biotechnology Training Course for Developing Countries Jointly 1st TWAS Symposium on Plant Natural Product Synthesis by Microbes hosted by the CAS-TWAS Center of Excellence for Biotechnology were held on January 15 to 19 at the Institute of Microbiology, CAS.
Synthetic biology is the world's research hotspot in 21 century. Plant biosynthesis is called "the next chapter" in the study of synthetic biology. Developing countries have abundant plant resources, but the research and technology of plant natural products and active metabolites lag far behind developed countries. In the aim of stimulating the synthetic biotechnology research in developing countries, the training course focused on the theme of "Microbial Synthesis of Plant-Derived Compounds". Seven lecturers from the United States, Japan, Australia and China were invited in the training course to spread the cutting-edge knowledge and skills in the field of synthetic biology. This event provided a platform for promoting the research and technology in the field of synthetic biology for the developing countries.
This year's training course had the most attendees in the past 5 years. More than 120 people from 18 countries and regions including Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon, Sultan, South Africa, Thailand, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Iran, Tunisia and China attended the training course.
Prof. Yin LI, the director of CAS-TWAS Center of excellence for Biotechnology, gave a speech at the opening ceremony. He warmly welcomed the lecturers and trainees for their attendance to the training course.
During the time of training course, a symposium about Plant Natural Product Synthesis by Microbes was also arranged. All the trainees were invited to attend the symposium and some were selected to present their work and to have face to face communications with invited speakers and experts of synthetic biotechnology. The frontier progress of plant natural products and active substances in the field of synthetic biology were discussed deeply in the symposium.
Lecturer Prof. Schmidt-Dannert
Interaction between lecturer and trainees
In addition, a workshop of proposal design was carried out in the training course. The trainees were divided into nine groups randomly. Each group was requested to work out a research proposal based on what they had learned from the training course. On the last day of the training course, the best proposal were selected by the committee. Weerawat Runguphan's team from Thailand and Philibert Tuyishime's team from Rwanda won the best proposal award.
Group discussion in workshop
Best proposal award
During the meeting, several small bilateral seminars were also organized, and two cooperative research programs on Sino-Thai Natural Products Synthesis and Cassava Starch Utilization were initiated. It was a good start for the Sino-US and Sino-Japan scientific co-operations in the future.
Since its foundation in 2013, CAS-TWAS Centre of Excellence for Biotechnology (CoEBio) has organized a series of biotechnology training courses to advance the development of biotechnology in developing countries. These courses were held in Beijing, Luzhou, China and Bangkok, Thailand. More than 200 participants from 30 countries, including Egypt, Sudan, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, Thailand, Yemen, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cameroon, Lesotho, Mauritius, Burkina Faso, Iran, Lebanon, Mongolia, Azerbaijan, Morocco, Vietnam, the Philippines, India, South Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, Australia, Japan and China attended the past courses. The number of participants has been increasing every year. The "training course+ symposium" model in this year's event provided face-to-face communications between experts from developed countries and scholars for the developing world. It also built a platform for people to better understand the latest development and trend in synthetic biology.