Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe
Building and promoting Excellence in Life Sciences in Europe

Courses@CRG: Building minimal cells: from non-essential genes identification to genome engineering

27 Mar 29 Mar 2018



Minimal cells are extremely significant scientific objects, as their study will bring us closer to understanding what life really is. In addition to this fundamental question, minimal cells are also a keystone of the development of synthetic biology and biotechnology. Indeed, the ability to remove non-essential genes from a genome is crucial to the production of a streamlined organism. Building these minimal cells, perfectly tailored for a given task, promises significant improvement in a wide array bioprocesses ranging from metabolite production to the creation of synthetic cells. The goal of the MiniCell Workshop on “Building Minimal Cells” is to provide young investigators cutting-edge training in the design and production of genome-reduced micro-organisms, for both fundamental and applied sciences.

Why participate?

The course will revolve around two axes: the identification of essential and non-essential genes in a given micro-organism; and the design, validation and implementation of genome engineering tools to produce genome-reduced cells. Participants will be trained in the production and sequencing of transposon libraries in bacteria, Tn-seq data analysis, and the in vitro rapid prototyping and testing of CRISPR-Cas9 genome edition tools. The course will feature a complete day of seminar, with didactic presentations by scientists at the forefront of their fields. This seminar will introduce the participants to the core concepts underlying the production of genome-reduced cells, in the model bacterium Bacillus subtilis and Mycoplasma genitalium. The next two days will be dedicated to hands-on tutorials and experiments in both wet and in silico biology.


  • Yonathan Arfi (Bordeaux University, Bordeaux, France)
  • Alain Blanchard (Bordeaux University, Bordeaux, France)
  • Damjana Kastelic (CRG, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Carole Lartigue (INRA, Bordeaux, France)
  • Maria Lluch-Senar (CRG, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Luis Serrano-Pubul (CRG, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Pascal Sirand-Pugnet (Bordeaux University, Bordeaux, France)

 Instructors and speakers

  • Mickey Gjerris (Copehaguen University, Denmark)
  • John Glass (JCVI, San Diego, USA)
  • Jonathan Karr (Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York , USA)
  • Jochen Hecht (CRG, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Carole Lartigue (INRA, Bordeaux, France)
  • Samuel Miravet (CRG, Barcelona, Spain)
  • Pascal Sirand-Pugnet (Bordeaux University, Bordeaux, France)
  • Jörg Stülke (Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany)

Who is the course for?

The course is designed for PhD students and postdoctoral scholars who wish to gain training in genome engineering and genome minimization. Students should already have a good foundation in molecular biology.

Pre-requisites: The course will focus on teaching students theory and techniques for essential genes identification and genome engineering. Participation in the course requires prior knowledge of basic molecular biology, in particular the manipulation of nucleic acids (DNA & RNA), as well as a basic knowledge of the principles of high-throughput sequencing.

Registration & deadlines

  • Duration of the course: The course will start on Tuesday March 27th at 9 am and finish on Thursday March 29th at 5pm.

  • Number of participants: 20

  • Application form: Only online registration is accepted.

  • Registration fee: 250 Euros (+ 21% VAT) for academic researchers and 500 Euros (+21% VAT) for industry (includes participation in workshop, all the necessary tools to follow the course, didactic material, coffee breaks, lunches, networking event).

  • Registration Deadline: 1st March 2018

  • Selection: Worldwide participants will be selected according to their submitted CV, motivation letter and short abstract about their work. Participants will be notified if they have been selected for the course by the beginning of March 2018. For the selected candidates, payment has to be done by 10th of March 2018.


ISVV –Institute of Vine & Wine Science
210 Chemin de Leysotte, 33140 Villenave-d'Ornon, France

How to get to the ISVV?



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ISVV –Institute of Vine & Wine Science
210 Chemin de Leysotte
33140 Villenave-d'Ornon