CABTalks by Synthace

The Computer-Aided Biology podcast hosted by Dr Fane Mensah, Life Sciences Business Director of Synthace and the Synthace Team.

From data scientists to biologists and from investors to engineers, you will hear their stories, opinions, and expertise on everything happening at the intersection of biology and technology.

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Design Of Experiments Is The Future, And Scientists Are At The Heart of It

Phil Kay is a Learning Manager at JMP with over 16 years of practical experience working with a multitude of companies across industries championing Design of Experiments (DOE) and the marvels of this transformational methodology.

In this podcast, he talks about how DOE in life sciences has been a fascinating evolution to watch. How it’s transformed the way biopharma companies get drugs to market faster, how it’s helped improve the productivity and predictability of R&D teams, and how it has impacted a person’s career. Design of Experiments is the future, the future is already here with scientists and automation at the heart of this.

The Lab of the Future Starts Outside the Lab

Markus Gershater is the Chief Science Officer of Synthace and has over 15 years of experience working with biopharma and life sciences companies to enable better experimentation for scientists. He’s also a champion for Design of Experiments (DOE) as the way forward for experimentation.

In this podcast, Markus goes into the framing of “Lab of the Future”. He shares his own personal experiences to dig into this adage and why he feels the framing “isn’t quite right”. He says “the lab is more than just the room itself, it’s the technologies, people, and science involved”. He also goes into deep detail about the importance of metadata and why scientists need to take care better of their data.

Building a CDMO is a Lesson in Failing Upwards and Failing Successfully

Christa Short, VP for Process Sciences at Wheeler Bio, is a master in navigating bioprocessing. She’s spent over 20 years working with biopharma companies to develop their drugs as quickly and as scalably as possible. 

In this podcast, Christa shares her experiences and deep insights on her life as a bioprocess expert. She’s spent her career navigating the tricky challenges you need to overcome in order to thrive in a fast-paced CDMO environment. She discusses what the grand vision is for biopharmas working with CDMOs and some of the ways that they're addressing pain points, like finding expertise in niche cell lines and structuring data from experimental runs.

Cloud Computing in R&D - If You’re Not Using It, You’re Already 5 Years Behind

John Conway is a cloud lab evangelist and founder of 20/15 Visioneers and has over 30 years of experience working with biopharma companies tackle their R&D challenges in a multitude of capacities to drive forward changes through technology, strategy and change management.

In this podcast, Jon talks about the R&D journey he has taken in the last 30 years, change management over the decades, the changes that we as an industry need to make and ultimately - the bright future that awaits us.

He shares his insight on biopharma’s approach to data environments, utilizing computer-aided biology technologies and what biopharma culture needs to change in order to realize the ideal standard of data environments - “that anybody in the field should be able to take it and completely understand the data set and do what they want to do with it.”

Change Management (Part 2): The Industry Challenge with Traci Howard

Following on from Part 1, which looked at the broader industry, Fane Mensah and Traci Howard take a closer look at life science organizations. Traci shares her tips and tools to introduce new technologies into an organization, and how to encourage the successful adoption of computer-aided biology technologies whether that's top-down from the management team, or from the research team upwards.

Traci takes us through the Change Journey - how to make a case for change within an organization and what the important questions that need answering are to help people sit up and take notice. 

Change Management (Part 1): The Industry Challenge with Traci Howard

Traci Howard is a Management Consultant with Attainment Consulting Services and has over seven years of experience working with the unique challenges facing biotech companies - among them, managing change.

In Part 1 of this special two-part episode of CABTalks by Synthace, Fane Mensah and Traci Howard discuss the broad industry challenge of implementing the appropriate technologies in the appropriate organizations at the appropriate time, as well as how vendors and tech developers should engage in conversations with their prospective clients.

Challenges and solutions in bioprocessing

Alexandre Super is a Data Scientist in upstream process sciences at UCB, a global biopharma company focusing on neurology and immunology. In this episode of CABTalks by Synthace, Alexandre and Fane discuss bioprocessing and data management. What are the challenges in moving from R&D to a scaled-up process? And how are Computer-Aided Biology tools helping tackle bioprocesses’ biggest challenge of all: capturing high-quality data. Listen in to learn how Automation, Miniaturization, and Digitalization play key roles in 21st Century bioprocessing.

Scaling biotech

Jesse Johnson is head of Data Science and Data Engineering at Dewpoint Therapeutics, an R&D-stage biotech startup, and the author of the Scaling Biotech blog where he pursues his goal to find ways to scale biotech research platforms through better software and organizational design. In this episode of CABTalks by Synthace, we discuss Jesse's framework for scaling biotech, explore the three big trade-offs of Cost vs Reliability, Immediacy vs Generality, and Flexibility vs Consistency, and touch on how we can better communicate the need for Computer-Aided Biology.

AI, life science & wraparound care

With advancements in artificial intelligence and cloud computing technologies, there are a growing number of solutions in Computer-Aided Biology. But what exactly are the problems? We speak with Dr Mike Fero, the former CEO and current COO of TeselaGen - one of the first big AI companies in the Computer-Aided Biology, on the problems facing scientists and how CAB companies should be articulating that problem. We also chat about Mike's journey from Physics into Computer-Aided Biology, the challenges facing CAB companies and CEOs today, as well as his personal challenge of balancing work with life and providing "wraparound care" for his grandchild.

DOE in biology

Biology is a notoriously difficult research area, especially for replicating results. To paraphrase from a film that has inspired thousands of people to get into this field: life finds a way (of behaving unexpectedly). On CABTalks by Synthace this month, EngD student Shama Chilakwad explains how her studies are entirely based on exploring the possibilities of DOE in studying transaminases.

The future of research

Research in life science is changing fast. The skill sets of scientists can barely keep up with the changing technology, demanding new and better knowledge of statistics, programming, experimental design as well as a plethora of new automation tools. So what will the lab and, more importantly, the researcher of the future look like? We asked Dr Melissa Sterry, who is a Design Scientist, Systems Theorist and Futurist, to help us imagine the future of research.

Cloud computing

In this episode, we talk with Jo Bhakdi, CEO of Quantgene, a company bringing the power of next-generation deep sequencing to liquid biopsies to search for early signs of cancer. He tells us how the cloud plays a critical role in managing all that data and how their technology aims to increase the human life span by a decade within a decade.

Vaccine development

Vaccines, vaccines, vaccines! That is all we hear about these days. But how do they work in the body? And how is the world of vaccine development changing with new Computer-Aided Biology tools? We talk to Assistant Professor Bruno Correia at EPFL in Switzerland about the challenges facing vaccines and his research on protein engineering and design.

Talking intellectual property

Intellectual Property has a funny relationship with research and innovation. Sara Holland is a patent attorney at Potter Clarkson an expert in Synthetic Biology IP. She talks us through the steps in identifying if your research could be protected, what goes into making a patent, and dispels the rumours around publishing vs patenting - you can have it all!

Getting a job in CAB

Getting started in a career is hard and for the field of Computer-Aided Biology, it can be extra difficult. A multitude of skills are often sought after by employers, and everybody wants someone with experience. Where do you start in CAB? How does the hiring process work and what are employers really looking for? And what can I expect to earn? In this episode, we speak to Tom Agg of Vivid Technology who explains it all!

2020 year-end special CABTalks by Synthace

We never thought it would happen but we have finally reached the end of 2020! What better way to honour the year of hindsight than by looking back and catching up with our guests from earlier in the series (and the pandemic) to see how 2020 played out for them and what their thoughts are on the future.

Starring: Keltoum Boukra of LabGenius, Joby Jenkins of SPT Labtech, Marilene Pavan of LanzaTech, James Reading of University College London, Tess Korthout of The Hyve, and Davide Danovi of Kings College London.

What makes a good drug target, and tackling reproducibility

It's Industry vs. Academia on the podcast this month! We’ve got Exscientia’s Dan Crowther and PhD Student Chloe Hsu discussing Machine Learning and Drug Discovery – don’t miss out on our exciting chat about what makes a good drug target and how do you tackle reproducibility issues in software. Chloe and Dan also chat about the differences between academia and industry, and how they need each other to work. Both our guests get to ask each other a burning question - great insight into how the other side works!

Talking to our labs

Labs are trending towards more integration of machines and software - electronic lab notebooks, integrated devices and cloud-based systems make up key elements of cutting edge research environments. This month, we talk to LabVoice's Dan DeAlmeida to chat about his company's exciting technology that is revolutionising how researchers behave in the lab. 

Let's talk about virtual events

In our latest podcast, Fane and David sit down to discuss online events. How have organisations adapted to the new normal of online events? And how important is the tech stack, or does it all depend on the right content? They've both attended Synbiobeta 2020 so they will be sharing the latest updates from the annual conference and more! 

Gemma Milne, author of the book 'Smoke & Mirrors'

In this episode of CABTalks by Synthace, we chat Computer-Aided Biology with Gemma Milne and discuss hype in science, how to communicate between fields, her amazing career and - of course - her excellent new book 'Smoke & Mirrors'!

James Reading, UCL

In this episode we spoke with James Reading, a Senior Postdoctoral researcher and modern-day immunologist based at University College London specialising in immune regulation and cell therapy. We talked about the key features of T Cells in immuno-oncology, addressing complex scientific questions with automation and the future of academia.

Marilene Pavan, Lanzatech

We met up with Marilene Pavan, a scientist at Lanzatech and an active science communicator for women in STEM. She shared her fascinating journey into the field of synthetic biology, her 4-way take on integration in Computer-Aided Biology, and why she thinks we should all communicate our work.

Joby Jenkins, Director of Product Strategy, SPT

We visited liquid handling vendor SPT Labtech in Hertfordshire (UK) where we spoke with their director of product strategy Joby Jenkins about low volume liquid handling, his 20+ year journey at the company, his engineering take on Computer-Aided Biology and much more, tune in now!

Expert panel discussion: back to the lab with automation & software

In this special episode of CABTalks by Synthace, Fane and Dave discuss going back to work during the COVID-19 crisis with leaders in the field of automation and software. Listen in as we join Joby Jenkins of SPT Labtech (our guest on Episode 2 of CABTalks by Synthace!), Emilie Fritsch of Synthace, Daniel Thomas of Arctoris, and David Dambman of Biosero as we talk automation strategy, software integration and the importance of data.

What lessons & truths have we uncovered in the pandemic

In our first CABTalks by Synthace Round table, we discussed Computer-Aided Biology in the face of COVID-19. Our panel of experts included Tess Korthout from The Hyve, Alexandre Super from UCB and Davide Danovi from Kings College London. In addition, David Briggs and Charles Insch from Gallagher Insurance shared some top tips for whilst working remotely.

Keltoum Boukra, LabGenius

Our first guest is Keltoum Boukra Team Lead LabGenius 🤖 We talked about her transition from studying medicine to robotics engineering, her day to day work, Computer-Aided Biology and much more...! Click on the link to listen now.

Want to participate in CABTalks by Synthace?

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