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International Synthetic Biology and Biosecurity Conference in Africa, 14-16, October 2021
Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala, Uganda.

The conference will feature outstanding speakers with international reputations, as well as a mix of talks from established and early career scientist from Africa and beyond.

Visionary Speakers

Dr. Benson Kinyagia
Dr. Benson KinyagiaSenior Science Secretary at The National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation, Kenya
James Diggans, PhD
James Diggans, PhDDistinguished Scientist, Bioinformatics and Biosecurity at Twist Bioscience
Prof. Chris Voigt
Prof. Chris VoigtDaniel I.C. Wang Professor of Advanced Biotechnology in the Biological Engineering Department at MIT and Co-Director of the Synthetic Biology Center.
Dr. Megan J Palmer
Dr. Megan J PalmerExecutive Director of Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives at Stanford University
Anne Meyer, PhD
Anne Meyer, PhDAssociate Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester, USA
Dr. Jenny Molloy
Dr. Jenny MolloySenior Research Associate, University of Cambridge
Yuval Dorfan PhD
Yuval Dorfan PhDIsraeli SynBio Institute (ISI) founding director
Harry Akligoh
Harry AkligohCo-founder and scientific director, Hive Biolab, Ghana
Dr. Talkmore Maruta PhD
Dr. Talkmore Maruta PhDSenior Biosafety and Biosecurity Officer with Africa CDC
Adj. Prof. Colin Scott
Adj. Prof. Colin ScottActing Director of the Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform at CSIRO
Dr. Deepak Balaji Thimiri Govindaraj
Dr. Deepak Balaji Thimiri GovindarajCentre Manager of CSIR Synthetic Biology Centre, South Africa
Stephen Obol Opiyo PhD
Stephen Obol Opiyo PhDResearch Scientist at The Ohio State University, USA
Luis Carrera Ochoa
Luis Carrera OchoaHigh-Containment Lab / Pandemic Safety Manager for the Environmental Health and Safety Department at Michigan State University
Prof. Matthew Chang, PhD
Prof. Matthew Chang, PhDDirector of the Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology and NUS Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation
Mayra Ameneiros, MSc
Mayra Ameneiros, MScBS in Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires and an MSc in Blood Banks from the Argentinian Association of Hemotherapy
Dr. Venkata Vamsi B Yallapragada, PhD
Dr. Venkata Vamsi B Yallapragada, PhDPostdoctoral researcher, Munster Technological University, Cork Ireland
Sandra Matinyi
Sandra MatinyiChairperson Executive committee, SynBio Africa
Javin Oza
Javin OzaAssistant Professor, California Polytechnic State University
Alex Olengo
Alex OlengoFounder & CEO- The Molecular Group
Stephen Mukuze
Stephen MukuzeCo-founder and CEO of Umkele Inc, Zimbabwe
Bhavna Pandya
Bhavna PandyaHead of Bioriidl-India
Andrew Hessel
Andrew HesselPresident of Humane Genomics
SUSAN N. CROPP, PhDFederal Bureau of Investigation at the FBI Laboratory
Karmella A. Haynes, PhD
Karmella A. Haynes, PhDAssistant Professor, Emory University
Dr. Chinna Devarapu PhD
Dr. Chinna Devarapu PhDResearch Fellow, Munster Technological University (MTU)
Special Agent Josh Canter
Special Agent Josh Canter Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator, Boston Field Office
Atek Kagirita
Atek Kagirita Chair, East Africa Regional Biosafety and Biosecurity Technical Working Group (TWG)
Muhammad Qasim PhD
Muhammad Qasim PhDLecturer, University of Otago New Zealand
Ryan Morhard
Ryan MorhardDirector, Policy and Partnerships, Ginkgo Bioworks.
Edward You
Edward YouSupervisory Special Agent in the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.
Dr. Jacob M. Pasner
Dr. Jacob M. Pasner Data Scientist
Michael Fichardt
Michael FichardtCo-founder and Managing Partner, OneBio Venture studio, South Africa
Dr. Jaime Yassif
Dr. Jaime YassifSenior Fellow for Global Biological Policy and Programs, Nuclear Threat Initiative.
Gameli Adzaho
Gameli AdzahoAfrica Regional Program Manager, Just One Giant Lab
Tae Seok Moon
Tae Seok MoonAssociate Professor, Washington University in St. Louis.
Marc T. Facciotti, PhD
Marc T. Facciotti, PhDAssociate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Genomics at the University of California, Davis.
Carolyn Angleton
Carolyn AngletonBioartist and Biotechnology Researcher, SacBioArts

Conference Themes

Biosafety and Biosecurity

Agricultural Innovations

Materials & biomaterials science

Renewable Energy

Biosensors & Diagnostics

Bioinformatics and Data science

Don't Miss a Thing
Event Agenda

7:00 PM to 9:00 PM Reception and Welcome dinner (International guests)
Session 1 : Opening event, Chair Ian 7:00 AM Registration
  8:00 AM Opening remarks, Otim Geoffrey, Founder & CEO, SynBio Africa.
  8:15 AM : Official conference opening address; Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero, Uganda Minister for science, technology, and innovation/government representative.
  8:30 AM Official inauguration of SynBio Africa.
Keynote Speaker 1:1 9:00 AM Emerging policy issues in synthetic biology, Dr. Robert Kibuuka, Principal science officer-Biosafety and biosecurity, Ministry of science Technology and Innovation, Uganda.
Keynote Speaker 1:1 9:15 AM UNSC resolution 1540 (2004) and the implementation of biosecurity measures, Edith Valles, Principal science officer-Biosafety and biosecurity, Ministry of UNSCR 1540 (2004) Expert Member.
Panel Discussion 9:30 AM Grand challenges for biotechnology and Synthetic biology in Africa; policy, public perception, funding, and technical skills. (Ryan, Patrick Rose, Musa, ….)
  10:00 AM BREAK
Session 2: Synthetic biology roadmap in Africa, Chair: Ian    
  10:30 AM Synthetic biology awareness in Africa, Nardos Amdework,, SynBio Africa Ambassador.
  10:45 AM Keynote speech 1.2: positioning SynBio to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Sandra Matinyi MSc, SynBio Africa.
Panel Discussion: 11:15 AM Roadmap for SynBio in Africa. (Geoffrey, Sandra, Opiyo, Nardos, Harry)
  12:00 PM LUNCH
  1:00 PM Keynote speech 1.3: Being prepared for the next pandemic; Biosafety and Biosecurity as essential pillars of Public Health and National Security. Atek Kagirita, Chair East Africa Biosafety and biosecurity, TWG.
  1:15 PM UNCBD deliberations on SynBio and policy recommendations for Africa states, Dr. Benson KinyagiaNACOSTI- Kenya.
  1:30 PM The role and importance of the biosafety profession,Luis Alberto Ochoa Carrera, Michigan State University.
  1:45 PM Opportunities for biosecurity risk reduction in synthetic biology, James Diggans PhD,Twist Bioscience.
  2:00 PM Perspective from UNODA Biosecurity Diplomacy workshop Alumni: building regional bridges for global biosecurity,Mayra Ameneiros & Luis Alberto Ochoa Carrera. .
  2:15 PM Engineering Biology at Social Scales, Megan J Palmer PhD, Standford University
  2:30 PM Protecting Your Intellectual Property: Warning Signs and Mitigation Strategies, Susan N. Cropp, PhD, Management and Program Analyst, Chemical Biological Countermeasures Unit, Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, FBI.
  2:45 PM Strengthening Governance of Dual-Use Bioscience Research, Dr. Jaime Yassif, Nuclear Threat Initiative.
  3:00 PM Biosecurity, Safeguarding Science, and the Future, Special Agent Josh Canter, Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator, Boston Field Office.
  3:15 PM Panel discussion; biosafety and biosecurityDr. Talkmore Maruta PhD-Africa CDC, Remi-BWC-ISU, SSA Edward You-FBI, Dr. Jaime Yassif -NTI, Edith Valles-UNSCR 1540 (2004) Expert), Africa CDC
Session 4   Investment and financing, , Chair: Alex Katumba
  4:00 PM An Investor's Perspective - Building African Synbio Companies. (Michael Fichardt, OneBio Venture studio, South Africa)
  4:15 PM Opportunities for synthetic biology to address the UN Sustainable Development Goals and other key global agendas, Ryan Morhard,Director, Policy and partnerships, Ginkgo Bioworks.
  4:30 PM Panel discussion; Financing and investment in SynBio.
  5:00 PM Closure
  7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Evening Reception
  7:00 AM Registration
Session 5   iGEM, Training and workforce development in synthetic biology, Chair: Baluku Erikan, SynBio Africa.
Keynote Talk 2: 8:00 AM Creating places for broad student engagement and innovation in synthetic biology and biodesign, Marc T. Facciotti, PhD, University of California, Davis.
  8:15 AM A Review on the Perspective of Opportunities, Applications and Challenges of Synthetic Biology in Africa, Richard Machoka, Kenya Snakebite Research and Intervention Center, Institute of Primate Research.
  8:30 AM IGEM delegates presentation (Nana, Rana, Mary)
  8:45 AM IGEM Makerere University team project presentation.
Panel discussion: 9:00 AM IGEM and synthetic biology; scientific, technological, and educational impact in Africa or “human practices, bioethics, safety and security” (Marc, Richard, Rana, Mary).
  9:15 AM Anti-aging molecules and drugs, Salim Chibani, SynBio Africa Fellow.
  9:30 AM How synthetic biology is solving global challenges, changing the World and shaping the future, Victor Mwine, SynBio Africa.
  9:45 AM Inqaba Biotec Africa’s Genomics company, Godfrey Biso, Inqaba Biotec.
  10:00 AM BREAK
Session 6   Agricultural innovation, Chair: Alex Olengo, The Molecular Group.
Keynote talk 3.1: Keynote talk: 10:30 AM Engineering Microbial Nitrogen Delivery to Cereals, Christopher Voigt PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
  11:00 AM Molecular cloning and recombinant protein expression of 9-lipoxygenase gene from solanum tuberosum in pichia pastoris yeast cells, Alex OlengoThe Molecular Group, Uganda.
  11:15 AM Ensuring quality storage to enhance food security and safety, Isaac Byarugaba, GERIS Agri-solutions.
Panel discussion: 11:30 AM progress, challenges, and future of agricultural biotechnology in Africa.(Alex, Chris Voigt, Isaac)
  12:00 PM LUNCH
Keynote talk 3.2: 12:45 PM Enabling environment and technologies for SynBio research and innovation in Africa. Dr. Opiyo Stephen, SynBio Africa.
Session 7   Biosensor, diagnostics tools and precision medicine, Chair: Stephen, and Harry Akligoh, Open Bioeconomy Laboratory, Ghana.
  1:00 PM Keynote talk 4.1: CSIR Synthetic Biology and Precision Medicine, Dr. Deepak Balaji, PhD-CSIR Synthetic biology center, South Africa.
  1:15 PM Keynote talk 4.2: Low-cost hardware for synthetic biology, Dr. Chinna Devarapu PhD, Research Fellow, Munster Technological University (MTU).
  1:30 PM Transplanting metabolic pathways for ex vivo operation in continuous-flow, Adj. Prof. Colin Scott, CSIRO, Australia.
  1:45 PM Deployability by design in synthetic biology solutions, Dr. Venkata Vamsi B Yallapragada PhD.
  2:00 PM Engineering microbes to rewire host-microbiome interactions, Prof. Matthew Chang, PhD, Director, SINERGY.
  2:15 PM Keynote Talk 5: Soil / water biosensors and Bio-convergence: Applications driven by a new Israeli bio-foundry, Yuval Dorfan PhD, Israeli SynBio Institute (ISI) founding director.
Breakout Session:   Biosensor, diagnostics, and pharmaceuticals.
1. 2:30 PM: Lessons from reagent manufacturing in Cameroon: overcoming supply chain issues to build a bioeconomy, Dr. Jenny Molloy, University of Cambridge.
2. 2:37 PM: Promoting Bioinnovation in Africa through Open Science and Technology, Gameli Adzaho, JOGL Africa,
3. 2:44 PM: Principles of genetic circuit design: programming living cells to perform novel functions, Hatem Mohamed.
  2:50 PM Biomarkers for Mycobacterium bovis infection in African rhinoceros. Josephine Chileshe, University of Cape Town.
  3:00 PM Nucleic acid diagnostics with CRISPR-Cas12 and amplification platforms, Dr. Omar Mukama PhD, University of Rwanda.
  3:15 PM Aescin and diosmin each alone or in low dose‑ combination ameliorate liver damage induced by carbon tetrachloride in rats, Sara Mahmmoud EL‑Dakhly, Modern University for Technology and Information, Cairo, Egypt.
Panel Discussion: 3:00 PM SynBio for COVID-19 pandemic diagnostics and vaccine; Dr. Deepak Balaji, PhD-CSIR, Gameli Adzaho, JOGL Africa, Dr. Jenny Molloy, University of Cambridge, Harry Akligoh, Open Bioeconomy Laboratory, Ghana.
Session 8:   Lightning talk and pitching, Chair: Ian Lightning talks.
  4:00 PM International Biosecurity & Prevention Forum Collaboration Website, Rebecca Ackerman, FBI-IBPF Idea pitching (Selection committee; Dr. Patrick Rose-ONR Global, Scott Walper-Naval Research Lab, Jonathan Brame -US Army, Nandini Iyer-US Air Force).
  4:15 PM Synthesis of bioplastics from an automated cyanobacteria and E. coli microbial factory, Stephen Mukuze, Umkele Inc, Zimbabwe.
  4:20 PM Digitizing and discovering knowledge from Maracha Hospital’s medical records, Stephen Obol Opiyo PhD, Research Scientist at Ohio State University, USA.
  4:25 PM Design of a biomaterials research laboratory, colossal minds Team, Makerere University.
  4:30 PM Use of PETase enzyme from Ideonella sakaiensis to biodegrade PET plastic, Erikan Baluku, SynBio Africa.
  4:35 PM Enzymatic degradation of GTC wastes, Sandra Matinyi, SynBio Africa.
  4:40 PM Acne Elim: A phage cosmetic project, Ivy Chimulwa, SynBio Africa
  4:45 PM Remarks by selection committee.
  5:00 PM Closure
  7:00 PM Evening Reception.
  7:30 AM Registration
Session 9   Renewable energy, Chair: Ian
  8:00 AM Keynote talk 6.1 SynBio in Africa: “A futurist’s perspective”, Andrew Hessel, Genome project-write (GP-Write).
  8:15 AM Keynote talk 6.2 Systems and synthetic biology to build programmable cells and sustainable bioeconomy, Tae Seok Moon, Washington University in St. Louis.
Session 10   Bioinformatics and Data science, Chair: Dr. Stephen Opiyo, PhDOhio State University.
  8:30 AM Securing the African Data Revolution for Researchers: A Policy Based Perspective. Jake Pasner, Ph.D
  8:45 AM Development of a web based and mobile system for healthcare, JSteven MalemiaUniversity of Malawi.
  9:00 AM Going beyond the Rapid Microbial Analysis Pipeline (rMAP); Peace Aber, Ivan SerwaddaGulu University.
Session 11   Materials and biomaterials science, Chair: Harry
  9:15 AM Keynote talk 8: Sustainability and Circular Economy using Biomaterials, Dr. Bhavna Pandya, Bioriidl- India.
  9:30 AM Artistic Speculation and its Value for Science, Carolyn Angleton, SacBioArts.
  9:45 AM Epigenetic Actuation: Engineered Chromatin for Gene Regulation in Triple Negative Breast Cancer, , Karmella A. Haynes, PhD, Emory University.
  10:00 AM Creating designer biofilms-on-a-chip and other (living) materials,Dr. Anne Meyers, University of Rochester.
  10:15 AM BREAK
Session 12   Closure
  10:30 AM Conference evaluation and feedback.
Panel Discussion 10:45 AM Closing remarks and departure, Chair.
  12:00 PM LUNCH

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Event Sponsors



We are a group of scientists, programmers and other professionals from Africa currently based in Uganda with a vision to have a healthy, safe, sustainable world through synthetic biology.

Our mission is to be the leading innovator for sustainable and low-cost solutions with breakthrough technologies to great challenges in health, agriculture and the environment in Africa. Our areas of interest are as follows: biosensor and bio-marker development, environment bioremediation and vaccine development among others. 



We are partnering with Africa's revolutionary tour company, TIMU Grand Africa safaris, they are the one handling booking our delegate's air tickets and will be in charge of all airport pickups and transfers from/to Entebbe airport.

They will also be able to offer you with the best discounted tour packages to visit some of the most famous tourist attractions in Uganda, the Pearl of Africa.

For more information, you can also reach out to them directly at

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