Danish synthetic biology at the forefront in China

On November 27, the prestigious conference Cold Spring Harbour Asia opened its doors focusing on frontline synthetic biology research.

A team of researchers from UNIK Centre for Synthetic Biology at University of Copenhagen were represented at the symposium. Danish synthetic biology is world-class, and China already has its eye on Denmark when it comes to setting the agenda for future focus areas within synthetic biology.

Innovation Centre Denmark in Shanghai has worked to facilitate the Danish participation in the conference. It thereby builds upon the efforts of the past few years in promoting the internationalization of Danish synthetic biology, and the different Chinese communities are very interested in getting closer to the Danish researchers.

“When we have managed to create such a strong Danish presence at the conference, it is a clear result of the international quality and weight of the research in and around the Centre for Synthetic Biology,” says research attaché Lars Christensen, Innovation Centre Denmark, Shanghai.

“Otherwise we would never have been able to gain influence to this extent.”

On the basis of an invitation from the Cold Spring Harbour committee to co-organize the conference, no less than 13 researchers and PhD students have come to China, to present the latest of the Danish research in synthetic biology.

“It is a very special honour, we have been given here. Synthetic biology is growing rapidly in China and this will influence the international development of the field in the coming years. Therefore, we are of course proud that China sees great potential in collaborating with us,” says Professor Birger Lindberg Møller, head of the Danish delegation and research director of the Centre for Synthetic Biology, University of Copenhagen.

Professor Møller talked about one of the centre’s pioneering projects: ‘Light driven biosynthesis’. The idea is to develop plant cells, which – generated by sunlight – can produce many of the materials that we today get from the polluting oil industry. This would be substances ranging from enzymes and plastic to aromatic and medical compounds.

The Danish delegation will meet with Shanghai Institutes of Biological Sciences, one of the strongest research institutions within synthetic biology research in China.

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