From creatures to creators

UKCWC has successfully hosted the second talk of UKCWC ‘Girls in Tech’ Talk series, in collaboration with Tsinghua Horizon Program. Dr. Shen introduced to audience the emerging field of synthetic genomics, the technology that allows humans to read and write DNA. 

The talk introduces audience to the secret of life and the cutting-edge technology of reading and writing the code of life, and what changes this can bring to our life. The lecture was in Mandarin Chinese.

Guest speaker

Chantal Yue Shen, the director of Genome Synthesis and Editing Platform of China National Genebank, is currently the chief scientist of Synthetic Biology of BGI Research. 


She and her group have set up the synthesis biology platform in BGI since 2011. Her group are currently working on establishing high-throughput and efficient genome synthesis technology and in exploring its applications in various fields.




The talk started with the nature of DNA, the tools to read DNA/RNA sequences and the Human Genome Project. Understanding our genome sequence could help with our life habits and medications. 



Next, Dr. Shen then talked about the latest development in the field of synthetic genomics. In order to ‘recode’ genomes, humans have done crossbreeding from rice crops to cows. Started with prokaryotic ‘synthia’ and later evolved to eukaryotic ‘Yeast 2.0’, humans are now taking strides in computer designed life forms.



It is exciting to imagine a future with synthetic gene technology in finding cures for deadly diseases, improving our life quality and fulfilling our ambition as creatures to become creators. Meanwhile UKCWC encourages more and more girls and women to lean forward and play active roles in this exciting journey.



Check the full video below.