"Exploiting the syntegron technology platform for assembly and optimisation of complex genetic ensembles"

Lead Research Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Department Name: Sch of Biological Sciences

Abstract

Previously we developed an innovative, versatile technology for enzymatically assembling and dynamically rearranging DNA modules. This "Syntegron" platform enables rapid assembly of multiple standardized DNA modules into large assemblies such as metabolic pathways and to exchange individual parts of assemblies (e.g., regulatory elements) to allow variation and optimization. We propose to build on these core technologies to develop a comprehensive experimental and computational toolkit enabling the rapid generation of important biomolecules:
Objective 1: Develop Syntegron "parts" enabling the discovery and production of diverse, valuable biomolecules. An important source for drug leads has been plant natural products but many of these drugs are produced in miniscule amounts in their native hosts, making the drugs expensive and environmentally taxing to harvest. Organic chemistry methodologies have been widely used to synthesize pharmaceuticals but many natural pharmaceutically-relevant scaffolds cannot be achieved by these methods. An alternative is the use of enzymes to enable the production of drug candidates from inexpensive, green starting materials. The goal of this research is to synthesize a variety of natural product variants e.g. terpenes using the Syntegron technology platform constructed in the first phase of funding, and to manufacture these natural product variants for drug discovery applications. We will 1) Take advantage of the recently described phenomena of plant metabolic gene clusters to identify genes encoding enzymes involved in plant secondary metabolite pathways via the development of novel bioinformatic and data mining tools. 2) Use the Syntegron platform to assemble the synthetic metabolic pathways for natural products e.g. the triterpenes and enzymes that will decorate them with functional groups to synthesize a variety of natural product variants. 3) Develop new Syntegron host strains for metabolic engineering 4) Engineer in vivo biosensors for natural products and their variants and use these sensors in high throughput screens allowing dynamic optimization of metabolic pathways.
Objective 2: Develop analytical tools, methods, and conceptual insights enabling the optimisation of diverse multigenic functions using Syntegron technology. Cell-free technology is useful for decoupling intracellular biochemical transformations from confounding experimental factors including cellular toxicity and mass transfer limitations. This has proven useful for quantitatively characterizing fundamental synthetic biology "parts". The relationship between cell-free parts characterization and performance in vivo remains unclear, and remains a fundamentally important scientific question. We propose to extend cell-free approaches to the high-throughput characterization of multi-genic assemblies constructed using the Syntegron platform, and to compare them with performance in vivo. The development of the Syntegron platform into a true technology for the synthetic biology community requires the development of novel computational modelling frameworks and quantitative tools for analysing and performing Syntegron-based directed evolution. We will therefore 1) develop a quantitative computational modelling framework describing Syntegron-based diversification and selection. 2) Optimise Syntegron-based directed evolution using in silico simulations paired with experiments. The ultimate test of the combined experimental and computational Syntegron platform will be to perform, analyse, and ultimately guide Syntegron-based directed evolution of a model metabolic pathway. We will initially pair in silico simulation with computational optimization to explore the influence of tuneable experimental parameters on the predicted chances of (a) generating sufficient genetic diversity to sample many potentially functional syntegron configurations, and (b) successfully selecting for variants that exhibit optimised biosynthesis.

Planned Impact

This project will provide new scientific advances and state of the art techniques in: a) Tools for rapid strain improvement and pathway engineering. b) Synthetic engineered organisms for efficient production of high-value products. c) A novel synthetic biology toolbox of genes, regulatory elements and vectors which will be made freely available to the Synthetic Biology community for future research via Open Wetware.
We will fully engage with the Knowledge Transfer Networks and invite a member of the Bioscience for Business KTN to an annual Project Management. The impact on academic beneficiaries will be realized by communicating the outputs from this project through regular publication in high-impact peer-reviewed journals, at conference talks.
The strength of the Syntegron Platform is that it is a generic technology for Synthetic Biology applications. We will seek interest from companies in application areas such as, Pharmaceuticals, Industrial chemicals and Agriculture via research collaborations and access to IP and know-how via licensing deals. We anticipate that the technology developed here could form the basis for a start-up company. To do so, all PI's will disclose any technology to their institution's intellectual property offices, which will file patents on the technologies. These will then be proactively licensed to either large companies or to small, venture-backed start-ups.
An exciting aspect of Synthetic Biology is that it encourages collaboration and multidisciplinary approaches to research, and it is important that the community develops people who want to engage with these diverse ideas and technologies. This project will provide an excellent training experience for the PDRAs employed on the grant and associated PhD studentships. The multidisciplinary collaborations will help them expand their scientific knowledge and experience. Each of the partner institutions have extensive staff development programmes which the PDRAs will be encouraged to make use of.
The PIs are actively involved in a number of outreach programmes, and have delivered talks to diverse audiences including schools, youth organizations such as the cub scouts, lawyers, political parties, journalists and the general public about our research. We plan to continue these outreach activities and look for new opportunities including participating in activities with the SAW trust. The Science Art and Writing (SAW) Trust (see www.sawtrust.org) established in 2005 has a strong track record for taking real research topics into communities in accessible and inclusive ways. Exploring topics through practical science, creative writing and visual arts enables individuals with diverse learning styles and interests to participate in activities that inform on directions of scientific investigations and their relevance to society. The SAW Trust, working with the Syntegron consortium over 3 years would provide training to scientists from each of the 6 member labs in the design of novel projects working with local artists and writers that are delivered locally to engage communities with research into engineering biological systems.
Sponsored by the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) and the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center, Jay Keasling and colleagues sponsor approximately 10 high school students each year at JBEI to learn basic synthetic biology. These students come from economically disadvantaged families in Richmond and Oakland, CA. The students learn about synthetic biology in a laboratory setting over a 10-week period. In addition, they get help with college preparation, including their college essay. After five years of this program, nearly all students choose to go to college. This year a student from our first class graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, the premier public education institution in the US. We will continue to work with these students through this funding.

Publications

10 25 50
publication icon
Boutanaev AM (2015) Investigation of terpene diversification across multiple sequenced plant genomes. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

publication icon
Bowyer J (2016) Mechanistic Modeling of a Rewritable Recombinase Addressable Data Module. in IEEE transactions on biomedical circuits and systems

publication icon
Bowyer J (2015) Development and experimental validation of a mechanistic model of in vitro DNA recombination. in Conference proceedings : ... Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Annual Conference

publication icon
Fogg PC (2014) New applications for phage integrases. in Journal of molecular biology

publication icon
MacDonald JT (2016) Synthetic beta-solenoid proteins with the fragment-free computational design of a beta-hairpin extension. in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

 
Description This is new follow on funding derivative of grant EP/H019154/1. The work is progressing well and a number of publications have resulted. We have demonstrated that the syntegron system can be used to efficiently build and modify a range of important metabolic pathways in E coli. Mathematical models of the recombinase system have been developed. We have shown that plant metabolic clusters can be delineated by chromatin signatures and developed computational strategies to identify clusters. Cell free systems have been developed to test the syntegron technology.
Exploitation Route The project still has a long time to run so it is still early days.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Title Novel methods for gene assembly 
Description We have developed (and are continuing to develop) new methods for rapid efficient assembly of DNA fragments using serine integrases. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact First version of the method is published (S.D. Colloms et al., Nucleic Acids Res. 42, e23). 
 
Title Transient plant expression technology for triterpene production at preparative scale 
Description We have develop a method for transient heterologous expression of biosynthetic enzymes in N. benthamiana for production of high-value triterpenes. Agro-infiltration is an efficient and simple means of achieving transient expression in N. benthamiana. The process involves infiltration of plant leaves with a suspension of Agrobacterium tumefaciens carrying the expression construct(s) of interest. Co-infiltration of an additional A. tumefaciens strain carrying an expression construct encoding an enzyme that boosts precursor supply significantly increases yields. After a period of five days, the infiltrated leaf material can be harvested and processed to extract and isolate the resulting triterpene product(s). This is a process that is linearly and reliably scalable, simply by increasing the number of plants used in the experiment. We have developed a protocol for rapid preparative-scale production of triterpenes utilizing this plant-based platform. The protocol utilizes an easily replicable vacuum infiltration apparatus, which allows the simultaneous infiltration of up to four plants, enabling batch-wise infiltration of hundreds of plants in a short period of time. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2017 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact Generation of gram-scale quantities of 98% pure triterpenes and demonstration that we can rapidly carry out combinatorial expression of enzymes from our triterpene toolkit to generate known and new-to-nature compounds. This had attracted considerable interest from industry and led to four new projects directly funded by different companies in the pharma, ag, food and drink and home and personal care sectors. 
URL https://www.jove.com/video/58169/transient-expression-nicotiana-benthamiana-leaves-for-triterpene
 
Description Built new image library for the Norwich Research Park 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact To help raise awareness of the high quality research carried out across the Norwich Research Park, we developed an open access image library to showcase images of NRP science accompanied by accessible legends suitable for a general audience. The image library has the potential to attract new traffic to the NRP institute websites and research group homepages and will allow groups such as the media, schools, the general public and other researchers to gain a glimpse of the great depth and diversity of research that is being carried out in Norwich. Although all the images are freely available to download and use, people are required to sign up to use the library and are asked to enter information at the time of download about their intended use of the image. This helps to capture who is using the library and where the images are being used. So far images have been downloaded 582 times and have been used in presentations, publications, on websites, for education and advertising. We ran an image competition to raise awareness across the NRP site and then assembled a judging panel to select the top 12 images which were used to create an NRP calendar for 2016. The calendar was sent to politicians, business leaders, industry and academics at institutions in the UK and internationally. The competition featured in the local paper, the Eastern Daily Press and an overall winner was picked and used to make a large canvas which is hanging in the new Centrum building. We have received many positive comments about the libraries ease of use for finding good quality, copyright free images to use in presentations from fellow researchers across the site. In October 2016 we put on a two-week, large scale image exhibition at the Forum in Norwich as part of the first Norwich Science Festival. The images attracted a lot of interest and several artists have been in touch with scientists whose research images were on display to set up new collaborations using science to inform artistic practice. We will post outcomes of these endeavours onto the image library website to widen our exposure to new audiences.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015,2016
URL http://images.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk/
 
Description Cambridge Science Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Designed and ran interactive activities at the Cambridge Science Festival to show what synthetic biology is and how we can apply this to plants to use either
to gain deeper understanding about biological processes or to design new applications of benefit to society. The stand invited people to play games that generated different ideas for using synthetic biology in plants which created a great starting point for discussions around responsible innovation. Our stand won an award from the Cambridge BID (Business Improvement District) Awards following some 'mystery shoppers' evaluating stands across the Cambridge Science Festival.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.sciencefestival.cam.ac.uk/2016-event-recordings
 
Description Great British Bioscience Festival 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact We were successful in a winning a BBSRC science communication award to develop a new science stand called 'Nature's Factories' to run at local events and as part of the BBSRC's Great British Bioscience Festival showcasing the best of British bioscience in its 20th anniversary year.
Human evolution is tightly linked to our use of plants for food, building materials, fuel, medicines etc., and we continue to look for innovative ways to use natural resources to provide us with sustainable solutions that support our lifestyles. Scientific research is enabling us to discover and develop new plant products that improve our lifestyles by creating better medicines, healthier foods and greener technologies whilst also demonstrating the importance of protecting plant species diversity and ecosystems.
The Nature's Factories stand was designed to enable the public to find out how science is exploring and exploiting the valuable variety of chemicals made by plants as well as making natural remedies to take away and pick leaves from our fact-tree.

We took the stand to the Science in Norwich Day at the Forum in Norwich (1st June 2014), to the Cambridge Botanic Gardens (19th August 2014) and on the 12th November 2014 used the stand for a training workshop for EU scientists to learn how to create interactive displays for public events. On 14-16 November 2014, our exhibit headed to Museum Gardens, Bethnal Green, London to be showcased at BBSRC's Great British Bioscience Festival. The festival, delivered in partnership with London Science Festival was open to the general public and free to attend.
Since then the exhibit has featured at the Bury St Edmunds family science festival (21st March 2015), the Fascination of Plants day at the John Innes Centre (14th May 2015), the Festival of Plants at Cambridge Botanic Gardens (16th May 2015) and at the Youth Stem Awards (13th January 2016). We plan to use the exhibit throughout 2016.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016
URL http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/engagement/exhibitions/gb-bioscience-festival/
 
Description High Value Chemicals from Plants- Harnessing the potential of synthetic biology for industrial biotechnology. 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact High Value Chemicals from Plants- Harnessing the potential of synthetic biology for industrial biotechnology. 13-14 July 2015, Dunston Hall, Norwich. I delivered a 20min talk about the use of the HyperTrans system in goldengate vectors and its benefits for metabolic engineering.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description John Innes Centre 50th Anniversary Open Day. (16 September 2017) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Approximately 3000 people attended. The support of our local community, and allowing as many people as possible to find out more about what we do is important to us, so in the build-up to the event we were delighted to welcome both BBC Look East and BBC Radio Norfolk onto the site, to chat to scientists and preview the event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.jic.ac.uk/news-and-events/blog-copy/2017/09/open-day/
 
Description Latitude Festival OpenPlant Exhibit, 14-17.07.16 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Latitude Festival

Led by Jenni Rant from the SAW Trust, Michael Stephenson, Colette Matthewman, Marc Jones and Dorota Jakubczyk (JIC) worked with Paolo Bombelli, Katrin Geisler (Cambridge University), Brenda Parker (UCL) and Marin Sawa (Imperial) to deliver a 3-day OpenPlant exhibit entitled "The Power of Plants" in the wildlife, weird science and adventure area at the Latitude Festival, Suffolk, from 14-17 July 2016. The exhibit showcased the potential applications of synthetic biology in plants in a hands-on and accessible way. The first day was dedicated to hosting organised school groups where children spent 40 minutes with us experimenting with a variety of plants to learn how scientists are using them in new and novel ways. The second and third day were run as a drop-in style to cater for family groups giving opportunities to engage with children and adults. Visitors were very interested to see science research straight from the labs and amazed by new innovations being developed through synthetic biology. The event was very tiring but the opportunity to work as a team with members from different institutes on a shared science theme was very enjoyable and rewarding whilst also expanding our understanding of each others work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://www.latitudefestival.com/stage/wildlife-weird-science-adventure
 
Description NRP DTP Summer Conference 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact NRP DTP Summer Conference 2015 held in the assembly house in Norwich. 15 min talk: Pathway engineering using the GoldenGate MoClo system.

Norwich Research Park Doctoral Training Partnerships
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.biodtp.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk/
 
Description Norwich Science Festival John Innes Centre Exhibit 22.10.16 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Norwich Science Festival.

The interactive 'Power of Plants' stand from the Latitude Festival made another appearance at the first Norwich Science Festival with Katrin Geisler coming over from Cambridge University to join JIC scientists Michael Stephenson, Hannah Griffiths, Colette Matthewman, Zhenhua Liu, Nadiatul Radzman, Dorota Jakubczyk, Don Nguyen, Miriam Walden, Jenni Rant and Roger Castells-Graells for two days as part of the Norwich Research Park's 'solving problems with science' weekend. A new addition to the stand was developed by Roger who introduced visitors to the structure of viruses through his challenge to build a giant virus particle. Plants are being used to produce virus particles for use as vaccines and so for visitors this deeper look at viruses in combination with a hands-on experience of mock infiltration of Nicotiana benthamiana plants with water enabled the scientists to explain the techniques involved and exactly what is being made by plants in this system. People were very interested in the variety of science on display and asked lots of questions. It was good to showcase our research at the first Norwich Science Festival and to show people locally how far reaching the work taking place in essentially a rural county can be in terms of impact to societies across the globe.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://norwichsciencefestival.co.uk/
 
Description SAW School Visit & teacher training (China) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact In December 2012 we were invited by the Tianyang Foundation and the Xuhui Education Bureau to visit Shanghai to launch the Science Art and Writing(SAW) initiative in China. This was the beginning of a very exciting partnership that enables Chinese teachers and children to develop their creativity using the SAW philosophy. We worked with a group of children and delivered a training workshop to enable teachers and volunteers to explore SAW techniques and begin experimenting with how SAW could be used in their classrooms. As the John Innes Centre strengthens its links with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the scheme will be rolled out more widely with support from Norfolk County Council's International Schools Partnership. We returned in 2014 to give further training to new schools and found that since the launch they had used SAW with about 1000 children in 18 schools and kindergartens in the Xuhui district, training 140 teachers and involving around 50 social volunteers! In December 2015 we hosted a visit to the UK by a group of Chinese teachers who use SAW in China so they could see how it works here. During 2016 we supported collaborations between teachers locally in Norfolk and in Shanghai working on SAW Lunchbox Science projects to assist Norfolk County Council in strengthening partnerships between international schools. In April 2017, in collaboration with Norfolk County Council, we took a group of teachers from Norfolk schools who had been participating in the Lunchbox Science projects to visit the teachers in Shanghai that ad also been working on this for a series of sharing presentations, demo lessons and visits to several schools in the city. We also moved further out of the centre to deliver a SAW Plant Natural Products training workshop for 40 new Chinese teachers. Further visits are being planned for 2018.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012,2014,2015,2016,2017
URL http://www.jic.ac.uk/news/2013/02/dr-jenni-rant-takes-science-and-eternal-rainbows-to-china/
 
Description SAW School Visit to Salem State University, Boston, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The Science Art and Writing initiative has been used to run complementary projects with educationalists in the US since its inception in 2005. In 2008 we visited the School of Education at Salem State College to work with 7-9 year olds exploring the theme of 'Maple Syrup' through science art and writing, and trainee teachers attended a SAW training workshop. Salem State has long been an advocate of the SAW approach, and SAW exercises continue to be part of the teacher training delivered by the institution. On the 28th April 2015 we returned to Salem State University to run a SAW project on the theme of photosynthesis with a class of 9-10 year old children and were joined by trainee teachers who wanted to learn the process. We have been invited back in 2016 to further develop training and partnerships in the Boston area.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description SAW Workshops at the Cambridge Science Centre 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A new festival that celebrates everything to do with light took place in Cambridge in February 2013. For the e-Luminate festival, the SAW Trust worked with the Cambridge Science Centre and artist Jenny Walsh to run a workshop entitled 'Lighting up inspiration'. Families learned about the relationship between the colour spectrum and light wavelengths. Light was then used to create a collaborative piece of art that explored the iridescent properties seen in oily puddles and in nature to create a peacock.
For the 2013 Festival of Ideas in Cambridge we worked with scientist Andy Osborne who specialises in eye research. We ran a drop-in workshop at the Cambridge Science Centre for families where they could learn about how the eye works and the variety of different eye diseases and disorders that can impact on sight. Andy had some great vision altering glasses that helped people to understand what sufferers of different eye conditions can see. We were joined by artist Jenny Walsh and some sixth form students who invited people to help build a giant eye sculpture to learn more about the rods and cones in the eye.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description SAW stand at the Royal Norfolk Show 2015 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact 2015 marked the 150 year anniversary of a presentation of research to the Natural Science Society in Brno by Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, who is regarded as the "father of modern genetics". In 1865, Mendel presented his work from studies done on pea plants in the gardens of the monastery in Brno that provided the first description of the Laws of Inheritance.

To celebrate Mendel's work and enable children to follow his methods to understand how the Laws of Inheritance work, we ran an interactive stand in the Discovery Zone at the Royal Norfolk Show. The stand provided a mix of hands-on science led by scientists from the John Innes Centre and an art activity that invited children to contribute to the build of some giant pea pods led by environmental artist Ruth MacDougall.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description SAW workshop at Barford Primary School 11 March 2014 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact Saw (Science, Art and Writing) project in Barford primary school together with Jenni Rant, Gemma Farré Martinez, James Reed, Chris Hann (artist) and Mike O'Driscoll (writer). We spent an entire day at school, explaining my project (Engineer wheat for "Take all" resistance) and opening a dialog about GMOs with 10 to 11 years old pupils. This project took place on the Tuesday 11th of March 2014.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Science in Norwich day 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Helped Jenni Rant (SAW) to hold a stand describing the scientific research ongoing at JIC, at the Science in Norwich Day at the Forum on the 1st of June 2014 .
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
URL http://soin.org.uk/2014/04/science-in-norwich-day-2014/
 
Description Submitted scientific images to the Norwich Research Park image library 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The NRP image library consists of images arising from research in life and environmental sciences on the Norwich Research Park . The aim of NRP research is to deliver solutions to the global challenges of healthy ageing, food and energy security, sustainability and environmental change and this is reflected in the images in the library.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL http://images.norwichresearchpark.ac.uk/searchresults.aspx?query=leveau
 
Description Training workshop (Edinburgh) 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact OpenPlant is working with the SAW Trust to deliver some of its engagement activities, particularly with schools. The SAW team were invited by the University of Edinburgh SynthSys & UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology to deliver a training workshop for scientists, artists, writers and teachers to enable them to design and deliver SAW projects in schools around Edinburgh. This approach to engaging children in current scientific research in an accessible way provides an excellent tool for scientists who wish to use diverse methods to showcase the potential impacts of their research. Working in teams with professionals from the arts fuels creative thinking and innovation around engagement styles whilst also providing novel science themes for artistic interpretation. Working with teachers helps to inform knowledge on current research to provide new examples for use in the classroom and the whole process enables co-learning from a science starting point in a multi-disciplinary way. Several SAW projects took place in Edinburgh schools in the months following the workshop where they were greatly received. We returned in 2017 to provide training for more people and again in 2018 and so the pool of SAW-trained scientists, artists and writers has grown significantly and the popularity of SAW in schools is providing a constant network for scientists to deliver novel engagement activities with children.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018