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Genetic Code Expansion Workshop returns for third year

Genetic Code Expansion Workshop 2017

The third annual Genetic Code Expansion Workshop is returning to campus for graduate students, faculty and scientists from across the country and world July 31-August 5, 2017. Led by biochemistry and biophysics faculty Ryan Mehl, Rick Cooley and Kari van Zee, the intensive laboratory and lecture workshop provides participants with the theoretical and practical knowledge to utilize existing and emerging genetic code expansion technology at OSU's Unnatural Protein Facility, the first laboratory of its kind providing researchers full access to current non-canonical amino acid protein production capability.

Genetic Code Expansion (GCE) is a novel fusion of synthetic and chemical biology that enables researchers to modify the genetic code of an organism to allow it to efficiently produce a protein with new chemical functionality in vivo or in vitro, with the goal of engineering living systems for useful purposes.

The workshop participants will arrive on campus with their experiments in hand, ready to collaborate, problem solve and learn how to resolve challenges that may have stumped them back in their home labs. Acquiring new knowledge and making progress on their experiments is a primary reason both young and experienced scientists flock to the GCE Workshop. All experiments are shipped back to participants’ home universities.

Ryan Mehl and OSU's Unnatural Protein Facility support team are passionate about education, training and community building in response to a high demand for their expertise and services around the world. Says Mehl:

"Hundreds of labs have contacted me to help troubleshoot their genetic code expansion research problems. This workshop was created to generate a community for sharing solutions that advance the emerging field of GCE."

Last year's workshop was well received by participants:

"Hands-on practice with the current technology was the best part about the workshop. The speakers and topics were relevant with the techniques being used."

This year's workshop will cover last year's agenda and add a new demonstration section on unnatural protein expression in mammalian systems.

Plans are already in the works for next year, too, which will include a GCE conference from August 9-11, 2018, in addition to the pre-conference weeklong workshop.