ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology

Synthetic Biology


25, Oct 2023

Synbio on show at Woodford festival

Synthetic biology will be covered from three different angles at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival, an annual music and cultural event held in Queensland from December 27 to January 1.

Associate Professor Amy Cain, Macquarie University, has convened two panel discussions to take place on Dec 30 and 31.

The first panel , on Saturday Dec 30, looks to the future of synthetic biology and features. features Centre members Esteban Marcellin, Laura Navone and Rob Speight. Sunday Dec 31 will feature a panel discussion on current synbio technology. Entitled Synthetic Biology Discoveries Currently Saving Our World”, it will include Esteban, Laura. Taylor Szyszka and Rob Willims of Hi-Gene. Hosts are Dr Karl Kruszelnick and the ABC’s Costa Georgiadis.

University of Newcastle’s Wild Yeast Zoo team will be also be engaging the public with some in-the-field activities.

They’re inviting the public to join a citizen science adventure to discover and collect wild yeasts from the environment and explore their potential uses. 

The project is supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence in Synthetic Biology, Inspiring NSW, Inspiring Qld, the University of Newcastle, Macquarie University and the Woodford Folk Festival.

During the festival, the Wild Yeast Zoo team will present a public lecture and lead walking tours. Participants will gather yeast samples from the Woodford site, contributing to ongoing research and exploration of the world of wild yeast.  

Scientists will undertake genetic testing of the yeast and describe it’s brewing characteristics, while ensuring they comply with an international framework known as the Nagoya Protocol, which was specifically designed to protect the IP of traditional landowners.

Wild Yeast Zoo is a collaboration between a diverse group of researchers from the University of Newcastle and Macquarie University including scientists, creatives, and philosophers from all career stages.  

“Wild yeasts have amazing diversity and potential to produce novel flavours and aromas in beer, as well as valuable compounds and enzymes for other industries. We want to explore this untapped resource and create a ‘zoo’ of these yeasts and their stories,” says Evan.