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Biodigital Convergence Webinar Series

Policy Horizons Canada, in collaboration with SynBio Canada, is launching a series of webinars on the convergence of biological and digital systems. The webinars provide an overview of disruptive innovations in the field of biodigital, and explore their potential implications. 

The content discussed in the biodigital webinar series is part of Policy Horizons Canada’s ongoing foresight work. The content, discussion, and presentations do not represent the views of the Government of Canada. 

The expertise of the participants and content generated may be used as part of the research for the biodigital study. However, no information from these sessions should be considered final content for the study.  For more information on these webinars, please contact  Avalyne Diotte or Pierre-Olivier DesMarchais.

Webinar Information

Webinars Google Folder

  • We have Google folders for each of the Webinars. This will facilitate sharing useful information between us.
  • Please send us the documents you would like to share with webinar attendees ahead of time so we may upload them to the proper folder. 


  • We ask that attendees not record or take screenshots of any part of the webinar without the permission of the presenters and Policy Horizons Canada. 
  • We may record some webinars, but only if we have the explicit permission and consent of the presenter.

Rules of Engagement

  • We do not attempt to predict the future, but rather explore it.
  • We invite the exploration of all possibilities. 
  • Please do not hesitate to share your thoughts; there are no wrong answers.  
  • We are not here to debate the plausibility but rather explore many potential implications, challenges, opportunities and scenarios. 
  • All suggested outcomes will be treated as plausible, and we will strongly discourage debates on the likelihood of their occurence. 


  • Be mindful that we are working online. Policy Horizons and SynBio Canada are not responsible for external problems that may arise, such as internet connectivity or uninvited individuals attending the session. We will do our best to avoid any issues within our control. 
  • Attending these webinars requires registration. We will provide a link to register for each webinar session. Following registration, we will provide a Zoom link for each registered participant. Participants may share the registration link with their network if they would like to encourage others to register and participate. 
  • As part of the Federal government, Horizons does not endorse comments or content shared via the webinars, nor does it engage the government of Canada in any way. This also applies to the content generated during foresight exercises such as influence cascade diagrams.

Upcoming Events

Previous Events

Session 1: The Biodigital Convergence + About Foresight

April 30, 2020, 2:00pm – 3:00pm EDT


Pierre-Olivier DesMarchais, Foresight Analyst, Policy Horizons Canada
Avalyne Diotte, Foresight Analyst, Policy Horizons Canada
Dr. Benjamin Scott, President, SynBio Canada

Recommended Reading

Session 2: DNA Writing

May 7, 2020, 2:00pm – 3:30pm EDT


Leslie Mitchell, Co-founder, Neochromosome Inc.
Andrew Hessel, President, Humane Genomics Inc.

Recommended Reading

Session 3: DIY Bio

May 21, 2020, 2:00pm – 3:30pm EDT


Derek Jacoby, Victoria Makerspace
Kevin Chen, Bricobio, Hyasynth

Session 4: Microbiome

June 4, 2020, 2:00pm – 3:30pm EDT


Gregor Reid, Seed
Trevor Charles, Metagenom Bio

Session 5: Biodigital in a Post-COVID World

June 18, 2020


Dr. David Edgell, Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
Dr. Pérez Escudero, Crowdfight Covid-19

Session 6: SynBio Education

July 2, 2020


Julie Legault, Founder, Amino Labs
Patrick Diep, Program Director at The Canadian Synthetic Biology Education Research Group

Session 7: The Ethics of Gene Editing

September 17th 2020, 10:00-11:30 am EST


Dr. Francoise Baylis, Research Professor, Impact Ethics, Faculty of Medicine, Dalhousie University

Dr. Vardit Ravitsky, Professor at the Bioethics Programs within the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine of the School of Public Health at the University of Montreal

Session 8: The Bioeconomy

October 1st 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST


Jeff Passmore, CEO Passmore Group

Christopher Bush, Agricultural Centre of Excellence in Sustainability

Session 9: AI/Machine learning & Automation for Engineering biology

October 15th 2020, 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm EST


Dr. Richard Fox, Co-founder, Infinome Biosciences

Naman Agarwal, Director of Business Operations, ProteinQure

Session 10: Gene Drives

October 29th 2020, 2:00pm – 3:30pm EST


Dr. Natalie Kofler, Founder, Editing Nature

Dr. Todd Kuiken, Environmental scientist and Senior Research Scholar with the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University

Session 11: Indigenous Perspectives on the Biodigital

November 12th 2020, 2:00pm – 3:30pm EST


Suzanne Brant, President & CEO, First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI)

Keith Williams, Director of Research and Social Innovation, First Nations Technical Institute (FNTI)

Session 12: Next Generation Biomanufacturing for the Bio-Revolution: An International Opportunity

December 3 2020, 2:00pm – 3:30pm EST


Ontario Genomics logo

Ontario Genomics is pleased to partner with Policy Horizons Canada and SynBio Canada as part of the Biodigital Convergence Webinar Series. This panel discussion will examine engineering biology-driven manufacturing opportunities from an international perspective. Many leading G20 jurisdictions already invest significantly in engineering biology through public-private partnerships and industry. This panel will explore initiatives and strategies in the U.S., the UK, and Canada.


Dr. Doug Friedman, CEO, BioMADE & EBRC, USA
Pari Johnston, VP, Genome Canada
Dr. Kirk Malone, Director of Commercialization, UK Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub (Future BRH), UK
Dr. Renee Wegrzyn, VP Business Development, Ginkgo Bioworks, USA
Dr. Aaron Dulgar-Tulloch, Global Head of Research and Development, Director of Cell and Gene Therapy, Cytiva (formerly GE Life Sciences), Canada
Dr. Bettina Hamelin, CEO, Ontario Genomics (Moderator)

Discussion topics include:

  • The biomanufacturing opportunities and challenges across jurisdictions
  • The impact on and opportunities for traditional economic sectors and industries
  • The convergence of technologies that enable innovation, commercialization, job creation, and economic growth
  • Opportunities for international collaboration
  • The impact of the pandemic on local supply chains
  • The power of biomanufacturing and engineering biology to address climate change and a greener economy through low-carbon emissions

Session 13: The Future of Biodesign, Bio-Art and Bio-Fashion

February 18, 2021, 2pm – 3:30pm EST


We’re kicking off the 2021 biodigital webinars with an exploration of biodesign, bio-fashion and bio-art! Join us to discover how designers and artists are experimenting with innovations in genetic engineering, DNA sequencing, DNA writing, and 3D bio-printing.


Veena Vijayakumar, Program Manager of Biodesign Challenge


Dr. Karen Hogan, CEO and Cofounder at Biorealize, Inc

William Myers, curator, writer (Biodesign published in 2018, Bio Art: Altered Realities published in 2015), and teacher based in Amsterdam

Dr. Jennifer Willet, Director of INCUBATOR art lab and a Canada Research Chair in Art, Science and Ecology at the University of Windsor

Session 14: Living Cities

April 22, 2021, 2:00pm – 3:30pm EDT


Ehab Sayed, Founder and Director of Innovation @ BIOHM

Joseph Dahmen, Associate Professor at University of British Columbia School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture