Synthetic biology is a novel engineering approach for ground up construction of parts, devices and networks to implement useful behaviours. Synthetic Biology as a formal discipline was announced at the first meeting at MIT in 2004. In October 2010, the first synthetic biology meeting in India, called Biodesign India was organized at the University of Kerala. This brought together an interest group in India comprising of scientists and students leading to the emergence of ‘synjeevani’ (syn – synthetic, jeevani – life), a synthetic biology network comprising of more than 150 members from different parts of the country.

The outcome of synjeevani was an active information exchange group that took initiatives in the form of proposing new research areas, preparing a special course curriculum in synthetic biology and co-authoring a book (Springer, in preparation).