Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Feb 1st: Cambridge Network Open Meeting

Professor Ananda Chakrabarty - 'Bioengineering Bugs'

We are delighted to welcome Professor Ananda Chakrabarty to Cambridge and invite all Cambridge Network members (and non-members, see below for details) to hear him talk at Robinson College on 1 February.

Prof Chakrabarty patented an oil-digesting bacterium that has helped clear up toxic oil spills such as the major one caused by the Exxon Valdez, considered one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters ever to occur at sea. But he is aware of the controversial nature of some IP laws. Professor Chakrabarty's view is that 'IP issues are often contentious and reasonable people may have very different opinions on its perceived societal values. This is particularly true on human gene patenting or what's described in European patent laws as "inventions that are contrary to public order or morality". The sense of morality is culture-based and highly variable.'

Professor Chakrabarty's talk will discuss how patents affect our society, both culturally and economically, and if there is something we can learn from the differences in the EU patent laws and those in the United States, that basically make patent-eligible 'anything under the sun that is made by man'. He will also tell the meeting about his own ongoing research into the development of anti-cancer multi-disease-targeting drugs from pathogenic bacteria.

Ananda Chakrabarty PhD is currently a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Illinois and his landmark research has since paved the way for many patents on genetically modified micro-organisms and other life forms, catapulting him into the international spotlight. Apart from being an eminent scientist, Professor Chakrabarty has been an advisor to judges, governments, and the United Nations.

The event is being held at Robinson College at 6pm on Monday 1 February, and it will be followed by a networking drinks reception. Participation is FREE to all Individual and Corporate Members of the Cambridge Network, including anyone working for or studying at Addenbrooke's Hospital, the University of Cambridge, Anglia Ruskin University, and the Open University, so please do tell your friends and colleagues. Registration of attendance is required - if you haven’t already registered you should follow the registration link on our event web page to tell us you’re coming.

If you are not a member or your membership has lapsed you can still attend for an entry fee of £40+VAT, payable in advance – the registration link on our event web page will take you through to a payment page. Please note that non-members who have membership of ERBI should email vicky.faupel@cambridgenetwork.co.uk direct if they would like to be added to our delegate list - there is no charge to ERBI members for attendance at this meeting.

We are most grateful to InCrops for their kind sponsorship of this important event and hope to see you on the 1 February.

Monday, December 21, 2009

April 2010: Innovation in Cereal Breeding

The Eucarpia Cereals Section Meeting
Innovation in Cereal Breeding
Tuesday 6th to Thursday 8th April 2010 at
Churchill College, Cambridge

Alien Gene Introgression; Polyploidy Genetics; Chromosome Engineering;
Genome Diversity; Functional Genomics; Recombination; Heterosis;
Strategies for Delivering New Cultivars

Confirmed speakers: Bob Reiter, Monsanto, USA; Mark Sorrells, Cornell University, USA; Peter Langridge, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics, Australia; Catherine Feuillet, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France; Carla Ceoloni, University of Tuscia, Italy

Registration starts from £495.00 plus vat and includes 2 nights' accommodation in a Cambridge College and all meals for the duration of the meeting.

Register on or before Monday 14th December 2009 to receive your early booking discount, a saving of £75.00. Register by Thursday 31st December and benefit from the reduced VAT of 15%. VAT will increase to 17.5% from Friday 1st January 2010.

RSVP 30 March, 2010

For more information see: http://guest.cvent.com/EVENTS/Info/Summary.aspx?i=7daa0217-108e-4a4e-92a8-5a0ef694c9bd

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Graduate training opportunity in plant sciences

There is a 7.5 month graduate training opportunity at the National Institute of Agricultural Botany. The successful applicant will work on two projects; Improvement of Vicia faba (field beans) for the UK and Aggressiveness of Yellow Rust Isolates in Wheat.

Both projects include molecular biology and glasshouse/growth room based assays. Full training will be given. The position would suit a recent graduate with a Biological Sciences Degree and an interest in Plant Sciences. Salary £1275/month (stipend), immediate start.

NIAB (The National Institute of Agricultural Botany) is based in Cambridge and is an independent plant research organization.

For further information or to apply submit a CV and covering letter to amanda.cottage@niab.com.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Free Seminar: 17 November 2009

Natural Fibres in Construction: Innovative Applications and Processes

Free Seminar: 17 November 2009, Hughes Hall, Cambridge, 2:00pm- 5.30pm

Natural fibres have been utilised in construction for millennia, they have particular advantages for a low carbon future. The event, with speakers from academia and industry will focus on the technical aspects of utilising natural fibres in a modern context and provide a forum for the latest research on new natural composites. The Renewable House at the Buildings Research Establishment, (delivered by the NNFCC and funded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change DECC), and the Suffolk Housing Society development at Haverhill, are practical examples of the application of natural fibres. However these natural fibres have yet to enter mainstream application. Why is this? What are the opportunities and challenges facing natural fibres in construction?

Download the details

Friday, October 16, 2009

CPPS Seminar 22nd October 2009

Cristobal Uauy from Department of Crop Genetics, John Innes Centre.

“What domestication missed: exploiting wild emmer to improve wheat”

Department of Plant Sciences Large Lecture Theatre, University of Cambridge

Wild emmer wheat (Triticum turgidum ssp. dicoccoides; DIC) has long been recognized as a potential source of valuable alleles for a series of important agronomic traits in wheat. We have recently isolated two such genes from wild emmer through positional cloning. Gpc-B1 is a NAC transcription factor that improves the efficiency of mineral remobilization from senescing leaves to grains. The wild emmer allele accelerates senescence by 2-3 days and increases grain N, Zn and Fe concentration by 10-15%. Closely linked to Gpc-B1 (0.3 cM) we identified Yr36, a gene that confers non race-specific or partial resistance to Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici (PST), the yellow rust pathogen. This gene encodes a kinase-START domain protein, representing a novel gene architecture, and its resistance was shown to be temperature dependant. Both Gpc-B1 and Yr36 are either non-functional or deleted in all cultivated durum and bread wheat varieties. However, backcross introgressions of the DIC segment including Gpc-B1 and Yr36 confers consistent increases in grain protein and micronutrient concentration in tetraploid and hexaploid wheat varieties as well as improving resistance to PST in susceptible cultivars. This suggests that the Gpc-B1 and Yr36 wild emmer alleles have the potential to contribute to the improvement of wheat nutritional value and yellow rust resistance in a wide range of germplasm. During the seminar we will discuss strategies to reduce the threshold for gene cloning in polyploid wheat and the approaches and tools used for functional characterization of these genes. Overall, our work with emmer argues for the importance of using wild species to discover and recover valuable alleles for modern agriculture. This will become increasingly important as we face new challenges to secure a sustainable food supply in a changing environment.

Download a pdf of the poster.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Development of Algal Products and Processes

Opportunities and challenges in high value applications, bioremediation and bioenergy

Thursday 15th Oct 2009
Zicer Conference and Exhibition Room, University of East Anglia, Norwich

This meeting is jointly organised by Renewables East, the renewable energy agency for the East of England, and the InCrops Enterprise Hub, a new initiative to promote low carbon solutions based on plant materials from non-food crops.

This event will highlight opportunities and challenges for the use of algae in high value applications, bioremediation and bioenergy, with a special emphasis on current and upcoming funding opportunities. It will bring together industry and academia from renewables sectors to accelerate innovation and technology transfer.

Speakers include:

  • Dr Gill Malin, University of East Anglia
    Algal processes and products: advantages and challenges

  • Prof Richard Geider, University of Essex
    Biological constraints on algal production

  • Prof Alison Smith, University of Cambridge
    Vitamins, pigments and energy from algae
  • Dr Thomas Mock, University of East Anglia
    Genomic screening and genetic engineering of diatoms for different biotechnological applications

  • Prof Graham Hillier, Centre for Process Innovation
    The role of algae in planning sustainable cities

  • Dr Vitor Vieira, Necton / Algafuel
    Production of algae for high value purposes - lessons for bioenergy production

Registration opens at 09.30 am; presentations start at 10.30 am. A Guided Tour of Algal Labs will be available during the lunch break for delegates who register in advance. The presentations finish at 4.00 pm, followed by networking, and the event closes at 5.00 pm.

A registration fee applies to this event: £50. A discounted fee is available for academic and not-for-profit organisations (£30). Please email alysonbooth@renewableseast.org.uk to access the discount.

To register please visit http://renewableseast.eventhq.co.uk/algae.

If you have any questions, please contact either Bianca Forte (biancaforte@renewableseast.org.uk; 07939 053 025) or Beatrix Schlarb-Ridley (b.schlarb-ridley@uea.ac.uk; 07778 983 612).

Download the flier.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Fibre Crops open day 4 September 2009

This Open Day with talks will focus on the growing and processing of fibre crops in the East of England. Delegates will also visit the experimental trials being conducted by InCrops at Easton College, Norwich.

Businesses interested in developing further products and technologies from these crops will have a unique chance to network and explore future opportunities. The event will be of interest to delegates in a range of sectors from growing, production and manufacturing through to retail, distribution and marketing.


Michael Carus, European Industrial Hemp Association
Natural Fibres Reinforced Plastics for bio-based products: Markets and Trends

Dr Mike Lawrence, BRE Centre for Innovative Construction Materials
Developing hemp-lime low-carbon construction for mainstream uptake

Download more information as a pdf.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Bioplastics & Biopolymers Seminar: 16 July

Thursday 16th July 2009
3.00pm - 6.30pm
Hughes Hall College, Pavilion Room, Cambridge CB1 2EW

To register, please contact Dr Beatrix Schlarb Ridley, InCrops Business Innovation Manager on b.schlarb-ridley@uea.ac.uk or telephone 01223 333 956 / 07778983612


Download the poster.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Biofuels East Launch Event

Fostering collaboration between academia and industry

Queens' College, Cambridge, 24 March 2009

An opportunity to examine the performance and sustainability of biofuels, learn about the advanced technologies being developed in the East of England and find out how to access funding for collaborative projects.

This event is aimed at academic and industrial researchers working on the development of biofuels as well as those whose activities are impacted by developments in this field. We have an amazing selection of experts such as Aaron Berry, Head of Carbon and Sustainability at the Renewable Fuels Agency, and Professor Chris Howe, Plant Biochemist at the University of Cambridge.

The following topics will be covered:

* The sustainability of biofuels and the rationale for advanced generation technologies
* Biodiesel, bio-alcohols, biomethane and jet fuels: developments and challenges faced by the industry
* Cutting edge research in land crops, algae feedstocks, lignocellulosic fuels and waste derived fuels
* Collaborative projects between academia and industry: challenges, case studies and ways forward
* Funding opportunities for collaborative projects between academia and industry

Information about Biofuels: Advanced Virtual Biofuels Hub for the East of England
Biofuels East Launch Event flier
Registration form

Thursday, January 22, 2009

CPPS Seminar: 5 February 2009

The European potential to produce Bio-energy: Miscanthus potential for current and future climates

Astley Hastings - University of Aberdeen
Thursday 05 February 2009, 16:00-17:00
Department of Plant Sciences Large Lecture Theatre, Cambridge

Using bio-fuels, such as bio-ethanol or bio-diesel in transportation, or biomass in power generation reduces CO2 emissions as the carbon is fixed by the plants from the atmosphere and saves the equivalent fossil fuel. The perennial rhizomatous C4 grass Miscanthus has one of the highest energy intensities per hectare of land in Europe. Here we model the future potential of Europe to produce Miscanthus with four different future land use and climate change scenarios and conclude that up to 17% of Europe’s current primary energy consumption could be provided by this bio-energy crop by the year 2080 but that inter-annual variation of crop yield can be more than 20%. We conclude that that the highest greenhouse gas mitigation from bio-energy can be achieved by growing a Miscanthus crop on existing fertile and degraded arable land and not on land with a currently undisturbed ecosystem.

Download the poster: http://www.plantsci.cam.ac.uk/CPPS/pdfs/Hastings.pdf