Project news

May 22, 2013

Synthetic Biology Utilized in Novel Food Safety Test

We met up with a number of entrepreneurs at the SynBioBeta conference in Silicon Valley in November 2012 to talk about their work and the barriers to entry they are facing in the synthetic biology space.

Mike Koeris, a co-founder of Sample6 Technologies along with Timothy Lu, spoke with us about his company’s work developing a diagnostic for detecting bacteria like listeria in food. Unlike existing testing programs, Sample6 is using synthetic biology to develop a test that can be completed in a matter of hours rather than days. Here is our conversation, the second in a series of short interviews with entrepreneurs working with synthetic biology:

The new test, scheduled to be launched over the summer, is getting attention. Scientific American recently wrote about the tool, explaining how it would use bacteriophage to infect listeria to generate the same enzyme that makes fireflies glow in the dark – the glowing light would indicate the presence of bacteria in food.

In our podcast, Koeris also talks about the challenges facing entrepreneurs in the field of synthetic biology and why companies sometimes pivot away from their initial hypothesis.

The first podcast in this series, with Antony Evans of the Glowing Plant Project, can be viewed here.