2018 Synthetic Biology: Engineering, Evolution & Design (SEED)

June 3-7, 2018

SEED 2018 focused on advances in science, technology, applications, and related investments in the field of synthetic biology. This year's theme was "synthetic biology at the leading edge of massive DNA synthesis, editing, and decoding.”

Here, synthetic biology will be broadly defined as cellular and biochemical technologies for accelerating bioengineering that are enabled by radical advances in DNA writing and reading. The conference highlighted recent discoveries and new tools that are positioned at the leading edge of rapid, massive DNA synthesis and editing. In addition, presentations and discussions featured the use of synthetic biology to broadly enable biotechnology applications, including therapeutics, industrial chemicals and fuels, natural products, and agriculture.

Keynote Speakers:

View additional confirmed speakers


Topic Sessions:

There were be ten topic sessions under three major tracks.


  • Reverse Engineering of Biological Systems 
  • Forward Engineering of Biological Systems
  • Biological Frontiers: Newly Explored Systems


  • Automation Technologies for Synthetic Biology
  • DNA Writing and Assembly
  • Engineering Functional Genomes


  • Biological Frontiers: Newly Enabled Applications
  • Biology-Inspired Materials
  • Industrial Biotechnology
  • Human Health


Biodesign Building

Special Reception at ASU Biodesign & ISTB 4

This special reception, sponsored by Arizona State University (ASU) Research Development, will allow SEED attendees to interact with ASU faculty and students and to tour the ASU facilities.

Featured Speakers

James Collins

James J. Collins is the Termeer Professor of Medical Engineering & Science and Professor of Biological Engineering at MIT. His research group focuses on using network biology approaches to study antibiotic action, bacterial defense mechanisms, and the emergence of resistance. His patented technologies have been licensed by over 25 companies.Read more

Jay Keasling

Jay Keasling is the Philomathia Professor of Alternative Energy at the University of California, Berkeley in the Departments of Bioengineering and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, senior faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Chief Executive Officer of the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI). Dr. Keasling’s research focuses on the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for degradation of environmental contaminants or for environmentally friendly synthesis of drugs, chemicals, and fuels.Read more

Floyd E. Romesberg

Floyd E. Romesberg is best known for developing unnatural base pairs for the expansion of the genetic alphabet. His research group at The Scripps Research Institute uses a broad range of techniques, including non-linear optical spectroscopy, organic chemistry, microbiology, and genetics, to study different aspects of evolution. This work has been described in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Romesberg is also the scientific founder and a member of the board of directors of Synthorx.Read more

Pamela Ronald

Pamela Ronald is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center at the University of California, Davis. Ronald and her collaborators were instrumental in identifying genes of rice that control the rice response to infection and tolerance to stress. In 2016 she was named by Grist magazine as one of the 50 innovators and visionaries who will lead us toward a more sustainable future.Read more