Synthetic Genes to Synthetic Life

33rd Steenbock Symposium - Jul 30, 2009 to Aug 02, 2009


The Steenbock Symposium organizers gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the following:

Logo - Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation

As the private, nonprofit patent and licensing organization for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) was established as the world’s first university-based technology transfer organization in 1925. It was founded by UW-Madison professor and inventor Harry Steenbock to ensure that his breakthrough discovery for increasing the Vitamin D content of foods was commercialized for societal benefit, and to ensure that proceeds from his invention supported university research. WARF has continued to fulfill Dr. Steenbock’s vision for the past 84 years, during which it has processed approximately 6,000 university inventions, completed 1,600 license agreement and gifted the UW-Madison nearly $1 billion generated from its licensing and investment revenues.

Logo - Morgridge Institute for Research

The vision of the private, nonprofit Morgridge Institute for Research, part of the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery opening in 2010 on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, is to enhance the university’s already considerable strengths in interdisciplinary biomedical research and accelerate the process of “Discovery to Delivery ” to improve human health. The Morgridge Institute is committed to building a collaborative research capability that integrates world-class basic science, initially focused on the challenge areas of regenerative biology and virology, through a strong cyberinfrastructure core and cutting edge innovation in science education.

  Logo - Alnylam Pharmaceuticals

Alnylam Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics based on RNA interference, or RNAi. The company is applying its therapeutic expertise in RNAi to address significant medical needs, many of which cannot effectively be addressed with small molecules or antibodies, the current major classes of drugs. Alnylam is leading the translation of RNAi as a new class of innovative medicines with peer-reviewed research efforts published in the world’s top scientific journals including Nature, Nature Medicine, and Cell. The company is leveraging these capabilities to build a broad pipeline of RNAi therapeutics; its most advanced program is in Phase II human clinical trials for the treatment of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) infection and is partnered with Cubist and Kyowa Hakko Kirin. In addition, the company is developing RNAi therapeutics for the treatment of a wide range of disease areas, including liver cancers, hypercholesterolemia, Huntington’s disease, and TTR amyloidosis. The company’s leadership position in fundamental patents, technology, and know-how relating to RNAi has enabled it to form major alliances with leading companies including Medtronic, Novartis, Biogen Idec, Roche, Takeda, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, and Cubist. To reflect its outlook for key scientific, clinical, and business initiatives, Alnylam established “RNAi 2010” in January 2008 which includes the company’s plan to significantly expand the scope of delivery solutions for RNAi therapeutics, have four or more programs in clinical development, and to form four or more new major business collaborations, all by the end of 2010. Alnylam and Isis are joint owners of Regulus Therapeutics Inc., a company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of microRNA-based therapeutics. Founded in 2002, Alnylam maintains headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, please visit

Logo - Genome Center of Wisconsin

In 1998 the Genome Center of Wisconsin (GCW) was established at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Genome Center, located at 425 Henry Mall, is a research center existing within the University of Wisconsin Biotechnology Center.

The Genome Center's 42 faculty members represent over 17 departments and six schools within the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The Genome Center fosters integrative and highly collaborative research that bridges multiple, diverse disciplines. Faculty members are involved in genomic research, graduate and undergraduate teaching, and pre- and post-doctoral training.

In September 2004, GCW faculty and members moved into state-of-the-art laboratories and office space designed to foster interdisciplinary research collaborations working to create solutions to biological problems raised by genome data. There are four main divisions of study under genomics, which are Genome Sequencing, Functional Genomics, Comparative Genomics, and Bioinformatics.

Logo - UW Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center

The UW–Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) is an umbrella organization operating under the School of Medicine and Public Health and the Graduate School. The SCRMC provides a central point of contact, information and facilitation for all stem cell research activities on campus.

The center's mission is to advance the science of stem cell biology and foster breakthroughs in regenerative medicine through faculty interactions, research support and education.

Our Goals:

  • Maintain UW-Madison as leader in stem cell and regenerative medicine research and application.
  • Foster increased SCRM communication within campus and beyond its borders.
  • Support SCRM research: basic, translational, clinical, bioethics, and public policy.
  • Develop educational, training and outreach programs
  • Enhance philanthropic support.

Logo - Biotechnology Training Program

The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a predoctoral training program in biotechnology. The objective of this program is to educate a new cadre of scientists and engineers whose training and experience cross traditional disciplinary boundaries. The National Institutes for Health has awarded thirty traineeships to this program, with about ten per year available to award. More than 140 faculty serve as trainers from 46 different departments and 6 UW School and Colleges. Trainees receive Ph.D. degrees in their chosen field, such as microbiology, chemistry, pharmacology, molecular biology, chemical engineering, mathematics, biomedical engineering or computer science. Students minor in a cross discipline, for instance a chemical engineer would take classes in biology, and vice versa. Trainees each presents a seminar annually about thesis research or internship experience, and each trainee participates in an industrial or national laboratory internship sometime during their program support. To date, internships have been completed by one sixty-five trainees at sixty-nine biotechnology companies and ten national laboratories, to great mutual benefit. Of the one hundred seventy-eight BTP doctoral graduates, all are now employed in industry, in academia, or as post-doctoral fellows.

Logo - Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine (CIBM)

The Computation and Informatics in Biology and Medicine (CIBM) Training Program at UW-Madison is an interdisciplinary predoctoral and postdoctoral bioinformatics training program, funded by a grant from The National Library of Medicine (No. 5T15LM007359), with additional support from the University of Wisconsin Graduate School and departments across campus. The CIBM mission is to provide modern training for a new generation of researchers wishing to solve biomedical problems requiring strengths in both computational and biological science. This training program is one of just 19 institutional training programs in biomedical informatics in the U.S. The 52 CIBM faculty span 15 different departments and five colleges at UW-Madison as well as several faculty at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation (located about 100 miles north of Madison).

Logo - UW Genomic Sciences Training Program

The Genomic Sciences Training Program (GSTP) is a new interdisciplinary predoctoral and postdoctoral training program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health/National Human Genome Research Institute. Additional support is provided by the UW Graduate School and the Genome Center/Biotechnology Center.
The mission of the GSTP is to train the next generation of genomicists, enabling them to gain strengths to bridge multiple disciplines needed for an integrated approach to solving complex problems in genomics research. These disciplines include chemistry, engineering, computer science, biostatistics, genetics, biochemistry, molecular medicine, and molecular biology.

 Logo - New England BioLabs

Established in the mid-1970s as a cooperative laboratory of experienced scientists, New England Biolabs (NEB) is a world leader in the production and supply of reagents for the life science industry. NEB now offers the largest selection of recombinant and native enzymes for genomic research and continues to expand its product offerings into areas related to PCR, gene expression, cellular analysis, markers and ladders, competent cells and RNA analysis.

At 35 years old, New England Biolabs can be considered one of the first companies to help shape today's biotechnology industry. Housed in a new state-of-the-art facility, our USA headquarters includes a modern fermentation center and fully equipped laboratories for production, quality control, product development and basic research. As one of the first companies to produce restriction enzymes on a commercial scale, NEB continues to specialize in restriction enzymes and consistently maintains a position at the forefront of this field. At New England Biolabs, science has always been a priority and through this approach, our reagents have gained a world-wide reputation for setting the highest of standards for quality and value.


If you are interested in making a gift or donation to the symposium fund, please visit the Biochemistry specific UW Foundation page. On the Foundation web page please add "for Steenbock Symposium" after the green Department of Biochemistry (1215105) text.