Dates: July 31 – August 5, 2017
Location: Unnatural Protein Facility, Oregon State University
Applications open February 1 at
Course Fee: 1150 USD

Ryan Mehl, Unnatural Protein Facility, Oregon State University
Kari van Zee, Unnatural Protein Facility, Oregon State University
Rick Cooley, Unnatural Protein Facility, Oregon State University
John Perona, Portland State University
John Lueck, University of Iowa

About the GCE Workshop:
Advances in Genetic Code Expansion have changed the landscape of studies and uses of proteins in vitro and in vivo by enabling incorporation of hundreds of non-canonical amino acids site-specifically into proteins. Genetic Code Expansion is inherently a fusion of synthetic biology and chemical biology. Success in genetic code expansion requires 1) the addition of all the necessary translational components to an organism that allow it to efficiently produce a protein with new chemical functionality site-specifically encoded and 2) optimization of scientific studies of the chemically modified protein in vivo or in vitro. Overall, success with Genetic Code Expansion relies on proficiency in both synthetic biology and chemical biology.

This intensive laboratory and lecture course will provide participants with the theoretical and practical knowledge to utilize existing and emerging genetic code expansion technology. This course will also provide educators with the tools needed to teach a research-based laboratory course on protein engineering using genetic code expansion at their home institutions.

The laboratory component will focus on two common needs in the genetic code expansion field: 1) incorporation of an existing non-canonical amino acid into protein of interest 2) screening a new non-canonical amino acid against a panel of synthetases to determine if the desired non-canonical amino acid can be incorporated with current genetic code expansion tools. As part of the laboratory component of the course, participants will be given the opportunity to bring their research gene of interest and/or their non-canonical amino acid to the workshop to test their expression and incorporation along with optimized controls.

The lecture component will focus on how new genetic code expansion components are generated and attributes of orthogonality, efficiency, fidelity and permissivity are defined, measured and are conditionally dependent. The major applications now afforded by the new non-canonical amino acids will be discussed with a focus on the future of each field and its limitations.
Course Selection Process: The number of places in the GCE workshop is strictly limited to ensure excellent instructor-to-student ratios and adequate access to laboratory equipment. Instructors are confronted with the difficult task of selecting diverse students from a large number of well-qualified applicants. To facilitate this process, each applicant is asked to email two files: a personal statement and a CV. In their personal statements, applicants should clearly describe their reasons for wanting to take this course. As part of this, applicants are encouraged to outline 1) their experience with genetic code expansion, 2) how they will apply genetic code expansion in their current projects or teaching, and 3) their long-term goals in learning more about genetic code expansion. Course admission is based first and foremost on the degree to which an applicant would benefit from the training opportunity, which in turn is judged from the information provided by the applicant.

Financial Aid:
Full scholarship and half scholarship support is available for the GCE workshop. The number of scholarships available depends on a number of factors, including the level of financial support in a given year and the number of students requesting stipends. Scholarships are awarded to support women and minorities in research and education. Applicants requesting financial assistance must submit their requests as a separate file in their online applications. If you would like to apply for scholarship support, please upload a letter with your application materials that clearly states the amount you're requesting and provides a full justification for the request. The amount awarded will be based upon the availability of funding. Please note that financial support for travel costs and ground transportation to and from OSU is not available for any applicant.

Workshop application instructions:
Application for the 2017 the GCE workshop can be submitted at

Pre-Conference Workshop Fee: $1150 until June 30, $1250 beginning on July 1 (USD)



2016 GCE Workshop

2016 GCE Workshop Group Photo