Colloque – Medicine and Environment: What kind of interdisciplinary collaborations for synthetic biology?

Colloque – Medicine and Environment: What kind of interdisciplinary collaborations for synthetic biology?

Organized by Morgan Meyer (Agro ParisTech) and Ludovic Jullien (ENS, UPMC)

This international conference will explore how synthetic biology, a rapidly emerging scientific field, is constructed as an interdisciplinary assemblage involving diverse fields such as molecular biology, engineering, physics, chemistry, mathematics, sociology, computer science, etc. What roles are the scientific disciplines involved supposed to play? How is synthetic biology structured around interdisciplinary conceptions of research? What are the planned collaborations between the natural sciences and the social sciences? We aim to provide some answers to these questions by studying specific cases of projects (be they initiated by the government or the industry), which require different actors to re-elaborate their frames of interdisciplinary collaboration in two key areas for the future: medicine and environmental protection.

The idea is thus to address the issue of interdisciplinarity from a prospective approach. Based on the concrete problems that scientists want to solve, the aim is to highlight how objectives, constraints (economic, political or ethical), and new forms of organization for collaborations and for the transmission of knowledge are articulated. New prospects for the manufacturing of life are not just related to new technical possibilities, they also involve a reconfiguration of the social and institutional fabric of science and, in doing so, its conceptual and methodological frameworks. In the United Kingdom and the United States, for instance, a dedicated science policy aimed at structuring synthetic biology already manifests its effects. We can observe the establishment of research centres, often involving the social sciences, the creation of specialized masters and new jobs, a reflection on industrial applications, and the launch of public debates and a particular emphasis on ethical and legal questions via notions such as “responsible innovation”.

In France, recent reports from the National Strategy for Research and Innovation (2011) and the Parliamentary Office for Scientific and Technological Choices (OPECST, 2012) reveal the government’s willingness to fully engage in the field. Interdisciplinarity, according to the OPECST is “necessary” and a “genuine requirement” and synthetic biology “therefore requires a new approach to training but also to the organization of the research itself and, finally, industrial organization.” It is within these contexts of transformation, both epistemic and institutional, that we want to initiate a collective reflection among researchers from diverse backgrounds.


23th June 2014

8:30 Reception of the attendees

Introduction by the organizers : Ludovic Jullien, Morgan Meyer

9:15 Scientific practice           

  • Romain Koszul, Institut Pasteur: Optimizing yeast chromosomes for basic and applied experimentations
  • Philippe Seksik, UPMC: The ecological scale : the gut microbiota experience
  • Damien Baigl, ENS, UPMC: The triggerable and programmable softness of synthetic biological systems
  • Thomas Heams, Agro ParisTech: Directed evolution in synthetic biology: a new black box in the realm of rational design?

12:45-14:15 Lunch

14:15 Educational aspects

  • Dominique Zeliszewski, Université d’Evry-Val-d’Essonne, Genopole: Insights into some interdisciplinary educational approaches in synthetic biology
  • Denis Thieffry, ENS, France: Interdisciplinary training in Life Science at ENS
  • Dirk Stemerding, Rathenau Instituut: iGEM synthetic biology student competition as a laboratory for responsible innovation

16:30 Industry and applications

  • Frédéric Pâques, Global BioEnergies: Direct fermentation for Isobutene, Butadiene and Propylene production: a highway to renewable plastics, synthetic rubber and fuels
  • Michel Manach, Toulouse White Biotechnology: Toulouse White Biotechnology: a unique interface between academic research and industrial implementation

19:30 : Diner with the speakers and the organizers

24th June 2014

9:15 Relations between science and society

  • Anthony Stavrianakis, EHESS: Science & Fabrications: On synthetic biology
  • Emma Frow, University of Edinburgh: Disciplining the social sciences in synthetic biology
  • Susan Molyneux-Hodgson, University of Sheffield: Developing synthetic biology applications for industry: a sociological analysis
  • Ana Nordberg, University of Copenhagen: Legal challenges of synthetic biology: integrating interdisciplinary elements in legal thinking

Practical details

Organisers : Morgan Meyer (Agro ParisTech), Ludovic Jullien (ENS, UPMC)

Dates: 23-24 June 2014

Location: Amphi Tisserand, AgroParisTech; 16, rue Claude Bernard, 75005, Paris.

Registration is compulsory but free.

For more information, please contact: Fabien Provost (


  • Amphi Tisserand – AgroParisTech, 16 rue Claude Bernard
    Paris, France (75005)


  • lundi 23 juin 2014
  • mardi 24 juin 2014


  • biologie de synthèse, synthetic biology, interdisciplinarity, medicine, environment, médecine, environnement


  • Fabien Provost
    courriel : provost [dot] fabien [at] gmail [dot] com


  • Fabien Provost
    courriel : provost [dot] fabien [at] gmail [dot] com


« Medicine and Environment: What kind of interdisciplinary collaborations for synthetic biology? », Colloque, Calenda, Publié le lundi 16 juin 2014,

Citer ce billet
Nahema Hanafi (2014, 17 juin). Colloque – Medicine and Environment: What kind of interdisciplinary collaborations for synthetic biology? Corps et Médecine. Consulté le 21 juin 2024, à l’adresse

Laisser un commentaire

Votre adresse e-mail ne sera pas publiée. Les champs obligatoires sont indiqués avec *

Ce site utilise Akismet pour réduire les indésirables. En savoir plus sur comment les données de vos commentaires sont utilisées.

Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search