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CABTalks by Synthace

CABTalks by Synthace

By Fane Mensah and Synthace

CABTalks by Synthace is the Computer-Aided Biology podcast hosted by Dr Fane Mensah, Life Sciences Business Director at Synthace.

We talk to the “who’s who” of our community and those working in the trenches across the diverse fields of life science. 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.

Want to learn more about Computer-Aided Biology? Go to www.synthace.com/cabtalksbysynthace
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Currently playing episode

CABTalk S2E4: Revolutionizing Healthcare with Cloud Computing - Jo Bhakdi CEO of Quantgene

CABTalks by Synthace

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The Evolution of Today’s Lab Automation Scientist
The Evolution of Today’s Lab Automation Scientist
Emilie Fritsch, Principal Scientist at Syngenta, joins Fane to talk about her journey from scientist to lab automation specialist. As her career evolved, so did her understanding of the automation needs of science. She went from molecular biology to the perfect blend of science and automation learning the best of both worlds to shape better science. The podcast is filled with nuggets of wisdom to take away, here’s what you can expect: (3:00 mins) Being thrown into the deep end of lab automation (7:30 mins) Three users of new technology: early adopters, watchers and skeptics (11:40 mins) Communicate reassurance. Look after those that are resisting new technologies and they will become your champions (14:11 mins) The “Eureka” moment of a skeptic adopting new technology feels really good (15:43 mins) The key learning from automation: not one size fits all (21:43 mins) Understand your problem so you know when to use automation (23:05 mins) Biologists need to spend less time pipetting and more time on the things they’re good at: the science (27:50 mins) Scientists need to be good communicators to thrive in a diverse environment filled with opportunities and challenges (31:43 mins)  Women can become lab automation specialists, your study doesn’t define your scientific future Listen to the podcast to follow the conversation. If you have questions about this podcast - hello@synthace.com is only an email away
40:00
November 10, 2022
Adopting Lab Automation Starts In Academia
Adopting Lab Automation Starts In Academia
Mario Antonio Torres Acosta,Postdoctoral Research Fellow at UCL, joins us to talk about his lab automation journey as an academic, specifically teaching others how to use lab automation. There’s plenty to cover in this episode, but you can look forward to hearing about: The shift to lab automation post-pandemic (5:25 mins) Automation and expertize is fluid, so should be the approach to adopting it and to think in the long term (11:30 mins to 16:21mins) Commitment is a big barrier to adopting lab automation (21:19 mins) Assessing how comfortable a person is with automation is to say nothing, see what they do and use this as a measure for your adoption (25:59 mins) Addressing the automation skills shortage in life sciences starts in academia (32:50 mins) Mario and Fane delve into the deep nitty-gritty of automation in an academic setting with lessons that apply to those on their automation journey. Listen to the podcast to follow the conversation. If you have questions about this podcast - hello@synthace.com is only an email away!
41:43
October 04, 2022
People Are The Key To Lab Automation
People Are The Key To Lab Automation
Bob Gantzer, Director of Lab Automation at Beam Therapeutics joins us to talk about his trials and tribulations across his lab automation journey. Here are some of the many golden threads of wisdom he speaks to: How he became a lab automation guru by being a “flunky scientist” Taking the hard lessons of automating in a large company and raising it to a fledgling biotech company Why you must prioritize automation in your R&D Lab automation is not a technical problem, it’s a people problem, and you have to sell the dream to scientists who aren’t trained with highly integrated robotics. There’s a ton of helpful things Bob said about lab automation and how he learned to be successful at implementing it. Listen to the podcast to follow the conversation. If you have any questions about this podcast - hello@synthace.com is only an email away!
50:02
September 06, 2022
Shaping Your Career Starts With You And The Science You Want To Do
Shaping Your Career Starts With You And The Science You Want To Do
Gintarė Bučaitė is a Senior Scientist at Benevolent AI, and she’s carved out her career working in academia, big pharma and small biotech doing what she does best - enabling scientists to do the science they want to do. But it’s not always been easy. In this podcast, she talks about her journey of actively shaping her career and the science she wants to achieve. From the uncertainty of her post-doc career to her forays in data science to enable scientists to do the science they want, Gintarė shares her journey with the hope that others learn from her successes and challenges.
41:22
July 29, 2022
Design Of Experiments Is The Future, And Scientists Are At The Heart of It
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.
39:57
June 29, 2022
The Lab of the Future Starts Outside the Lab
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.
50:25
May 25, 2022
Building a CDMO is a Lesson in Failing Upwards and Failing Successfully
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.
42:25
April 28, 2022
Cloud Computing in R&D - If You’re Not Using It, You’re Already 5 Years Behind
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.”
49:28
February 24, 2022
Change Management for Adopting Advanced Technologies and Automation in R&D (Part 2)
Change Management for Adopting Advanced Technologies and Automation in R&D (Part 2)
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. 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. 
28:41
January 10, 2022
Change Management for Adopting Advanced Technologies and Automation in R&D (Part 1)
Change Management for Adopting Advanced Technologies and Automation in R&D (Part 1)
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. We talk about how vendors and technology developers can segment their audience and tailor their approach to help individual clients meet their research goals. The conversation continues in Part 2, taking a closer look at changes like introducing new technologies can be managed within a life science organization.
28:57
January 10, 2022
Challenges and Solutions in Bioprocessing
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.
30:09
November 10, 2021
CABTalk S2E8: Scaling Biotech with Jesse Johnson
CABTalk S2E8: Scaling Biotech with Jesse Johnson
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 CAB Talk, 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. FYI - the book Jesse mentions is Data-Centric Biology: A Philosophical Study by Sabina Leonelli
44:60
September 30, 2021
CABTalk S2E7: AI, Life Science, and Wraparound Care with Mike Fero COO of TeselaGen
CABTalk S2E7: AI, Life Science, and Wraparound Care with Mike Fero COO of TeselaGen
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.
43:40
July 30, 2021
CABTalk S2E6: Design of Experiments in Biology with Shama Chilakwad
CABTalk S2E6: Design of Experiments in Biology with Shama Chilakwad
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). Because everything is so interconnected in biology, the one-factor-at-a-time (OFAT) approach is usually taken to investigate biological systems. But what if there were a better way to gain insights into the holistic nature of biology and explore the interconnectedness of various factors while maintaining scientific accuracy? Well there is, it’s called Design of Experiments (DOE). When we say DOE we are talking about a branch of applied statistics that can be applied to experimental design to explore the relationships between factors in an experiment as well as the effect of the factors themselves. Compared to other experimental approaches, such as the OFAT approach, DOE can save time and resources in performing experiments while providing deeper insights. In CABTalk this month, EngD student Shama Chilakwad explains how her studies are entirely based on exploring the possibilities of DOE in studying transaminases.
40:27
June 30, 2021
CABTalk S2E5: The Future of Research with Melissa Sterry
CABTalk S2E5: The Future of Research with Melissa Sterry
Research in life science is changing fast. The skillsets 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. #ComputerAidedBiology #Automation #Software #SyntheticBiology #SciencePodcast
31:56
May 28, 2021
CABTalk S2E4: Revolutionizing Healthcare with Cloud Computing - Jo Bhakdi CEO of Quantgene
CABTalk S2E4: Revolutionizing Healthcare with Cloud Computing - Jo Bhakdi CEO of Quantgene
Cloud computing is helping revolutionize the personalized healthcare space with 21st century Computer-Aided Biology tools. Next generation sequencing technologies capable of generating more data than ever before, the storage, processing and analysis of that data is more than a single machine can handle. Enter the cloud. 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. Quantgene are working with Serenity, a system which utilizes Quantgene's liquid biopsy and AI, and has turned it into a customer-facing product. For US customers who are interested in liquid biopsy for early cancer signal detection and whole exome sequencing, and who want to incorporate the Serenity system into a preventative health plan, visit www.chooseserenity.com and use the discount code CAB15 for 15% off at checkout.
30:44
April 30, 2021
CABTalk S2E3: Vaccine Development with Bruno Correia
CABTalk S2E3: Vaccine Development with Bruno Correia
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. 
30:23
March 31, 2021
CABTalk S2E2: Talking Intellectual Property with Sara Holland
CABTalk S2E2: Talking Intellectual Property with Sara Holland
Intellectual Property has a funny relationship with research and innovation. Sara Holland is a patent attorney at Potter Clarkson and 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 rumors around publishing vs patenting - you can have it all!
28:50
February 26, 2021
CABTalk S2E1: Getting a Job in CAB
CABTalk S2E1: 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!
27:08
January 28, 2021
CAB Talk S1E9: The End of Year Special
CAB Talk S1E9: The End of Year Special
We never thought it would happen but we have finally reached the end of 2020! What better way to honor 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.
29:21
December 30, 2020
CABTalk S1E8: Chloe Hsu (UC Berkeley) & Dan Crowther (Exscientia)
CABTalk S1E8: Chloe Hsu (UC Berkeley) & Dan Crowther (Exscientia)
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!
36:49
November 30, 2020
CABTalk S1E7: Dan DeAlmeida LabVoice
CABTalk S1E7: Dan DeAlmeida LabVoice
Labs are trending towards more integration of machines and software - electronic lab notebooks, integrated devices and cloud-based systems makes up key elements of cutting edge research environments. However, scientists need to interact seamlessly with these devices and what better way to communicate our experimental intentions than by speaking. This month, we talk to LabVoice's Dan DeAlmeida to chat about development in the lab and his company's exciting technology that is revolutionizing how researchers behave in the lab.
38:07
October 30, 2020
CAB Talk S1E6: Let's Talk About Virtual Events
CAB Talk S1E6: Let's Talk About Virtual Events
Conferences, webinars, and online demos are the new normal but the buzz of seeing things live and up close as well as meeting new people has changed the way we learn, network and even simply pay attention to developments in our field.  This month, Fane and Dave talk about conferences they've participated in, before and during COVID, and the lessons we could learn from attending vritual events. 
56:18
October 07, 2020
CAB Talk Special - Back to the Lab with Automation & Software
CAB Talk Special - Back to the Lab with Automation & Software
In this special episode of CAB Talk, Fane and Dave discuss going back to work during the COVID-19 crisis with leaders in the field of Automation and Software. These tools can help researchers catch up on time lost to lockdown and do more effective science going forward. Listen in as we join Joby Jenkins of SPT Labtech (our guest on Episode 2 of CAB Talk!), 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.
50:54
August 31, 2020
CAB Talk S1E5: Guest Gemma Milne - Author, Science Disrupt, Science Communicator
CAB Talk S1E5: Guest Gemma Milne - Author, Science Disrupt, Science Communicator
In this episode of CAB Talk 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'! 
58:35
July 30, 2020
CAB Talk S1E4: Guest James Reading of UCL and Achilles Therapeutics
CAB Talk S1E4: Guest James Reading of UCL and Achilles Therapeutics
This week we talk to Dr James Reading, an immunologist and researcher based at University College London specializing in immune regulation and cell therapy. In this episode we talk T Cells, automation and data, and how this benefits researchers and patients. Disclaimer: The ideas, views and opinions expressed are solely those of James Reading as an individual and not representative of his employers UCL or Achilles therapeutics limited
39:08
June 29, 2020
CAB Talk Special - COVID-19 and Computer-Aided Biology Roundtable
CAB Talk Special - COVID-19 and Computer-Aided Biology Roundtable
In the first of our series of CAB Talk Roundtables, we discuss Computer-Aided Biology in the face of COVID-19. We talk to Tess Korthout from The Hyve, Alexandre Super from UCB, and Davide Danovi of Kings College London about what CAB can do in the COVID-19 crisis.
27:22
May 27, 2020
CAB Talk S1E3: Guest Marilene Pavan of LanzaTech
CAB Talk S1E3: Guest Marilene Pavan of LanzaTech
Our third episode of CAB Talk is now available! During isolation, Fane and Dave are joined via Zoom by LanzaTech scientist Marilene Pavan. Marilene shares the story of her journey from Brazil to the US, and from industry to academia and back again. We also talk about the importance of role models and diversity, and how communication between experts and integration of technology is driving computer-aided biology forward. Tune in now!
01:00:03
April 27, 2020
CAB Talk S1E2: Guest Joby Jenkins of SPT Labtech
CAB Talk S1E2: Guest Joby Jenkins of SPT Labtech
Our second episode of CAB Talk is now available! Fane and Dave visited liquid handling vendor SPT Labtech, where they 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!
38:27
March 12, 2020
CAB Talk S1E1: Guest Keltoum Boukra of LabGenius
CAB Talk S1E1: Guest Keltoum Boukra of LabGenius
The inaugural episode of CAB Talk, the Computer-Aided Biology podcast. This week, Fane Mensah of the Computer-Aided Biology Community is joined by Keltoum Boukra, Automation Team Lead at LabGenius to talk about what CAB is and how it is shaping biological research.
25:44
February 07, 2020