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9th EMBL/EMBO Joint Conference 2008

Sibylle Gaisser, Fraunhofer Institute, Systems and Innovation Research, Germany

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Sibylle Gaisser

Biography

Sibylle Gaisser studied bioprocess engineering, molecular biology, genetics and microbiology at the Universities of Stuttgart, Freiburg (both Germany) and Swansea (UK), graduating in 1994 with a Master in Technical Biology at the University of Stuttgart. Her master thesis dealt with the production of shikonin in plant cell cultures. In 1998 she received her PhD at the Eberhard-Karls-University T├╝bingen, Faculty of Pharmacy for research in the field of modular antibiotic synthesis and resistance mechanisms in Streptomyces. From 1998-1999 she worked as the assistance of the CEO at the Biotechnology Agency Baden-W├╝rttemberg. In July 1999 she joined the Fraunhofer Institute Systems and Innovation Research as a Project Manager and Senior Researcher in the Competence Center "Emerging Technologies". Additionally, Sibylle is a lecturer for molecular biology and biotechnology at the University for Applied Sciences, Heilbronn (Germany).

Her main research interests are the sustainable development in biotechnology and the health sector; impacts of innovations in life sciences on society, economy and ecology, new scientific-technological developments in biotechnology and medicine and their translation into the (clinical) practice; and improved knowledge transfer in life sciences. Sibylle Gaisser is the project leader and coordinator of the ongoing EU project "Towards a European Strategy for Synthetic Biology (TESSY)". The goal of TESSY was the elaboration of a roadmap with essential steps in regulation, funding, public sector integration and scientific milestones.

Synthetic Biology engineers and studies biological systems that do not exist as such in nature by a modular approach and uses this approach to (1) achieve better understanding of life processes, (2) generate and assemble functional modular components, and (3) develop novel applications on processes. As Synthetic Biology is a highly interdisciplinary field future advancement requires knowledge transfer within the broader scientific community and with other stakeholder groups (lay people, decision makers), a profound funding basis that integrates ELSI analysis and a short term clarification of open source status and standardization issues.

Activities that should be carried out with a short to mid term perspective are the clarification of ethical issues, a coordinated regulation of biorisks and the development of a code of conduct for SB research.