SSBSS 2015

International Synthetic and Systems Biology Summer School

Biology meets Engineering and Computer Science

5 - 9 July 2015, Taormina - Sicily, Italy


Recent advances in DNA synthesis have increased our ability to build biological systems. Synthetic Biology aims at streamlining the design and synthesis of robust and predictable biological systems using engineering design principles. Designing biological systems requires a deep understanding of how genes and proteins are organized and interact in living cells: Systems Biology aims at elucidating the cellular organization at gene, protein and network level using computational and biochemical methods.

The Synthetic and Systems Biology Summer School (SSBSS) is a full-immersion course on cutting-edge advances in systems and synthetic biology with lectures delivered by world-renowned experts. The school provides a stimulating environment for students, early career researches, academics and industry leaders. Participants will also have the chance to present their results, and to interact with their peers, in a friendly and constructive environment.


  • Genetic Engineering
  • Metabolic Engineering
  • Genome Design
  • Reading and Writing Genomes
  • Pathway Design
  • Synthetic Circuits and Cells
  • Biological CAD
  • Artificial Tissues and Organs
  • Genomically Recoded Organisms
  • Biological Design Automation
  • Genome Engineering
  • Cellular Systems Biology
  • Experimental Synthetic Biology
  • Computational Synthetic Biology
  • Stochastic Gene Regulation
  • Gene Signaling
  • Quantitative Molecular Biology
  • High-throughput Techniques
  • Biological Engineering
  • Industrial Synthetic and Systems Biology

Taormina and Etna District - Mount Etna


  • Adam Arkin, University of California Berkeley, USA
  • Lecture 1: "Genome-scale Discovery of the Determinants of Optimal Biological Function"
    Lecture 2: "On the Challenges in Engineering Activity in Complex Contexts from 100,000 Liter Bioreactors to Human Guts"

  • Jef Boeke, New York University, USA
  • Lecture 1: "Assembling DNA: from Nucleotide to Chromosome"
    Lecture 2: "Sc2.0, the Synthetic Yeast Genome Project"

  • Angela DePace, Harvard University, USA
  • Lecture 1: "Developmental Gene Regulatory Networks"
    Lecture 2: "Measuring, Modeling and Manipulating Regulatory DNA"

  • Forbes Dewey, MIT, USA
  • Lecture 1: "Quantitative Modeling of Molecular Pathways I: Fundamentals"
    Lecture 2: "Quantitative Modeling of Molecular Pathways II: Examples from Systems and Synthetic Biology"

  • Karmella Haynes, Arizona State University, USA
  • Lecture 1: "Designing CRISPR for the Engineering of DNA in Mammalian Cells"
    Lecture 2: "Mapping and Engineering of Chromatin in Mammalian Cells"

  • Richard Kitney, Imperial College London, UK
  • Lecture 1: "An Engineering Approach to Synthetic Biology Design 1"
    Lecture 2: "An Engineering Approach to Synthetic Biology Design 2"

  • Philip Maini, Oxford University, UK
  • Lecture 1: "Mathematical Modelling of Biological Pattern Formation"
    Lecture 2: "Modelling Invasions"

  • Giancarlo Mauri, University of Milano - Bicocca, Italy
  • Lecture 1: "Computational methods in Systems Biology: from Modelling to GPU Acceleration"
    Lecture 2: "Efficient Inference of Cancer Progression Models from Cross-sectional Data"

  • Leslie Mitchell, New York University Langone Medical Center, USA
  • Lecture 1: "In silico DNA assembly challenge"

  • Steve Oliver, Cambridge University, UK
  • Lecture 1: "Improving the yeast metabolic model as a tool in strain design"
    Lecture 2: "Harnessing synthetic biology and the Robot Scientist in drug discovery"

  • Velia Siciliano, MIT, USA
  • Lecture 1: "Synthetic Biology in Mammalian Systems for Biomedical Applications"

  • Ron Weiss, MIT, USA
  • Lecture 1: "Synthetic Biology: From Parts to Complex Circuits"
    Lecture 2: "Mammalian Synthetic Biology: Scientific and Therapeutic Perspectives"

  • Nicola Zamboni, ETH, Switzerland
  • Lecture 1: "Reconstruction of metabolic regulation by large-scale metabolomics"
    Lecture 2: "Bottom up modeling of dynamic metabolic systems"

  • Luca Zammataro, IIT, Italy
  • Lecture 1: "Identification of Low Frequency Driver Mutations in Cancer via Consensus Alignment"

Industrial Panel

  • Jon D. Chesnut, Life Sciences Solutions Group -Thermo Fisher Scientific, USA
  • Lecture: "CRISPR-based Genome Editing Tools: New Applications and Streamlined Workflows"

  • Zach Serber, Zymergen, Inc.,USA
  • Lecture 1: "Lessons learned from optimizing microbes for large scale industrial fermentation. What has worked"
    Lecture 2: "Applying robotics and manufacturing principles to strain engineering"
    Lecture 3: "An interactive workshop: starting your own synthetic biology company"

SSBSS 2015 Directors

School Director

Scientific Committee

  • Giuseppe Nicosia, University of Catania, Italy
  • Jole Costanza, University of Catania, Italy
  • Barbara Di Camillo, University of Padova, Italy
  • Markus Herrgard, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
  • Heiko Muller, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy
  • Giuseppe Narzisi, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, USA
  • Wieslaw Nowak, Nicholas Copernicus University, Poland
  • Francesco Ricci, University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Italy
  • Gianna Maria Toffolo, University of Padova, Italy
  • Renato Umeton, MIT, USA
  • Luca Zammataro, Italian Institute of Technology, Italy

Taormina - Schisò Beach


Platinum Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors:

Silver Sponsors:

  • Leonardo Design Systems Inc.