New Job: IndieBio EU!

So, this isn’t private news and it’s already known to many, but there’s some stuff I’d like to share here in the near future which may seem confusing or surprising unless I first officially come out with it on my blog.

Since several weeks ago, I am officially the Scientific Director of IndieBio EU, the accelerator formerly known (and mentioned here) as Synbio Axlr8r.

This is a pretty exciting shift for me; it closes a chapter where I worked under the umbrella of Glowbiotics, my open biotech start-up, and a stint as a mentor at Synbio Axlr8r 1.0 (a volunteer position). I spent some time working as a software engineer at a start-up in Little Island in Cork, which was fun but was going in a different direction from Synthetic Biology, my chosen field. Moving to IndieB.io, taken as an entirely individual action, puts me back on track toward synbio in Ireland.

More generally than myself, IndieB.io will be running in Cork next Summer, and applications are being accepted even now for the programme! I’m really looking forward to working with people directly and helping them to push ambitious ideas from concept to proofs within the 3-month programme, and afterwards.

To remind those who’ve forgotten or were out of the loop, SynbioAxlr8r was the world’s first ever Synthetic Biology Accelerator, and remains one of only two such programmes and by far the more ambitious. The format was: 3 months, in a fully furnished lab, with funding, inter-team collaboration, and intensive mentorship and support. The outcome was to be a proof-of-concept, something worth investing in, which would be pitched at the demo days in Dublin and San Francisco for further investment and partnership.

The teams of the world’s first ever synthetic biology accelerator set out to make:

  • Revolution Bio - Flowers that change colour from dawn until dusk
  • Kilobaser - An open source hardware desktop DNA printer for everyone
  • Muufri - Artificial, vegan and low-impact milk
  • Benthic Labs - Bulletproof silk from a benthic fish
  • Hyasynth - Abundant, affordable, medical-grade cannabinoids
  • Afineur - Fermented coffee-beans to rival the world’s most prestigious estates

This year coming, I am hoping to have an even more amazing line-up and more teams. Particularly as Cork (already an impressive city for industrial biotechnology) is rapidly growing to become an international biotechnology cluster, with biotech business parks opening, growing investment in academic food and microbial biotechnology, and our project to create a world-class Bio-Makerspace in the city centre.

IndieB.io is part of this, and more; the San Francisco IndieB.io programme and the Cork programme will be well-connected, as will Forma Labs be to other biomakerspaces in Europe and further abroad, and we anticipate many exciting synbio collaborations to come for our southern city.