Synbiota Inc.

Connor Dickie


Connor Dickie co-founded Synbiota to accelerate biotechnology R&D. Synbiota is a rapid prototyping software/wetware platform that puts the power of life into the hands of scientists and enthusiasts around the globe. Connor is an alumnus of the MIT Media Lab where he created context-sensitive, and attention-aware computers. Connor is alumnus of Mozilla's WebFWD program, and winner of the 2014 SXSW Interactive Accelerator.

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Dr. Justin Pahara


Justin has more than a decade of bioengineering experience as well as extensive knowledge of synthetic biology tech, markets, and work-flows. Justin learned stuff at the University of Cambridge (PhD, MoTI in JBS), Singularity University (GSP-10; Google Fellow), iGEM (2007, 2008), the University of Alberta (B.Sc., M.Sc.), and of course, the Internet.


Prof. Mike Ellison


At the beginning of his career Mike Ellison’s interests were primarily centred on the structure and function of complex biomolecules. More recently his interests have tended towards the possibility of constructing synthetic biological devices that perform useful functions.

He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto in 1983 for research focused on chromosome structure. He spent the next six years at MIT developing accurate computational approaches for predicting the physical behaviour of bio-macromolecules. There, his interests shifted toward understanding the ubiquitin system, an important cellular signaling pathway that formed the core of his research program at the University of Alberta from 1990 to 2003.

His current focus is on Synthetic Biology, an emerging discipline that sits at the interface between biology and engineering. The goal of this new field is to produce modular biological circuits of increasing sophistication using well-understood molecular components that can be reliably assembled into novel and useful forms of artificial life.

As the inventor of Synbiota’s Rapid DNA Prototyping (RDP) standard, his lab is presently focused on the development of easier, faster and less expensive ways to assemble genetic circuits.

He continues to be a strong advocate for innovative science. He has served on the boards of Genome Prairie, the Alberta Network for Proteomic Innovation and has played a major role in bringing new technologies to the university through two multi-million dollar investments from the Canada Foundation for Innovation. He is actively engaged in the dissemination of synthetic biology to undergraduates with his involvement in iGEM, a student SynBio competition held annually at MIT and has mentored three award-winning teams.


Cliff Lau

Full Stack

Cliff has been programming since he was a child, and hasn't stopped since. He has a Computer Engineering degree from the University of Toronto, and has been working for start-ups since graduating in 2012. Cliff believes that the world can be saved through software, and he’s just the guy to do it.