Synthetic biology vaccines for farm animals

Authors: Camillo Meinhart and Markus Schmidt. © 2019

Length: 10:19 min

This is a documentary about the design of novel vaccines using synthetic biology. It all starts with mycoplasmas – the smallest free-living microorganisms – that lack a cell wall around their cell membrane. The lack of a cell wall makes them resistant to many of the common antibiotics. Annually, infections caused by Mycoplasma species in poultry, cows, and pigs result in multimillion Euro losses in the USA and Europe. There is no effective vaccination against many Mycoplasmas that infect pets, humans and farm animals (e.g. Mycoplasma bovis cow infection). Furthermore, most Mycoplasmas are difficult to grow in axenic culture, re-quiring a complex media that includes animal serum. Consequently, even in those cases for which effective vaccines are available the production process of the vaccines is challenging. The research project MycoSynVac seeks to combine extensive systems biology knowledge and cutting-edge synthetic biology methodologies in order to engineer a universal Mycoplasma chassis that can be deployed as single- or multi-vaccine in a range of animal hosts, and will be free of virulence and optimized for fast growth in a serum-free medium. The work done in this project may also become a stepping stonge for other potential applications such as cell therapy, infectious lung disease treatment, etc.



Authors: Camillo Meinhart and Markus Schmidt. © 2017

Length: 22:15 min

The Berrymakers from Biofaction on Vimeo.

This documentary film is about the international research and innovation project BACHBERRY that searched for valuable substances in plants, particularly berries, that could be beneficial for health and other useful applications. In the film we travel to the experimental Vavilov research stationing Russia, visit the biochemical analysts at the Hutton Institute in Scotland, compare color pigments in Montpellier, France, and talk to the researchers in Lisbon, Portugal who test plant extracts on so-called “humanized yeast”. The film gives a clear idea why the discovery of useful substances and their genes is so important for human health and the bioeconomy and how these genes could be used to make these hardly available substances in larger quantities with the help of engineered microorganisms.
Authors: Camillo Meinhart and Markus Schmidt. © 2014
Length: 31:02 min

Synthetic Biology in Europe from Biofaction on Vimeo.

Synthetic Biology is an emerging field in at the intersection of biotechnology, information technology and biochemistry with the aim to make biology easier to engineer. But what exactly are synthetic biologists doing? And who are the people behind the technology planing to design and engineer living material? This film takes you on a journey around Europe showing current developments in this field, portraying five outstanding research projects – funded by the European Science Foundation – and the scientists that drive them.


DIVERSEEDS: Plant Genetic Resources For Food and Agriculture

Authors: Markus Schmidt and Camillo Meinhart. © 2009
Length: 50:27 plus bonus material

Diverseeds from Biofaction on Vimeo.

In agriculture, the widespread adoption of a few improved varieties has narrowed the genetic base of important food crops and led to the disappearance of hundreds of landraces. Conserving and using plant genetic diversity is vital in meeting the world’s future development needs in Europe, Asia and elsewhere. This documentary shows why biodiversity is important for agriculture and how it is conserved and used in many different locations in Europe and Asia.

SYNBIOSAFE: Synthetic biology and its social and ethical implications
Authors: Markus Schmidt and Camillo Meinhart. © 2009
Length: 38:19 plus bonus material

Synbiosafe – Synthetic Biology from Biofaction on Vimeo.

Synthetic biology is the design and construction of new biological systems not found in nature. It aims at creating novel organisms for practical purposes. With many anticipated benefits and a high impact on society, the societal and ethical aspects of this discipline, as well as its possible risks, are becoming increasingly prominent. This film shows not only what synthetic biology is, but also what it could mean for our society, economy and the environment.