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Upcoming GCE4All Workshop

Selecting your Synthetase - Expanding GCE Chemistries

Upcoming GCE4All Workshop

Selecting your Synthetase - Expanding GCE Chemistries

Details at a Glance

Date: August 2-8, 2024

Location: GCE4-All Research Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA

Applications open in January

Applications will be accepted until the workshop is full

Course Fee*:

  • Academic $2250 until May 15th, and $3000 until June 30th.
    • If bundling with GCE Conference registration, total will be $2500 - only available until May 15th.
  • Industrial $4200 until May 15th and $5000 until June 30th.

*course fee includes daily breakfasts and lunches and two group dinners. Lodging and Travel are not included.


  • Ryan Mehl, GCE4All Research Center, Oregon State University
  • Rick Cooley, GCE4All Research Center, Oregon State University
  • John Lueck, University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Riley Bednar, Oregon State University
  • Nathan Alexander, Oregon State University


  • Kari van Zee, GCE4All Research Center, Oregon State University
  • Kayla Jara, GCE4All Research Center, Oregon State University


The 2024 GCE4All Center Workshop will focus on the theory and practice of engineering amino-acyl tRNA synthetase (RS)/tRNA pairs for the encoding of non-canonical amino acids (ncAAs). Academic and industrial attendees are welcome and will receive hands-on training from Center scientists in the standard “double sieve” life/death selection strategies to identify novel RS variants with selectivity for an ncAA so that it can be encoded into proteins. All attendees will perform selections starting from a complete active site RS library with model ncAAs provided by the Center. In addition, academic attendees can bring to the workshop an ncAA of their choice that has never been encoded into proteins. A series of lectures will also be given on the theory, history, strengths and challenges of Genetic Code Expansion, with particular focus on practical considerations for engineering new RS/tRNA pairs, cloning and generating custom libraries of RS mutants. The intent is to have academic attendees leave the workshop with a pool of RS variants able to encode their ncAA that they can bring back to their laboratories to characterize and use in their research programs. Attendees are encouraged to apply early so that they can discuss with Center scientists prior to the Workshop the nature of the ncAA they would like to encode and feasibility of success.

Lecture topics

  • GCE overview and status of the field
  • Fundamentals of library selections: screening tRNA synthetase variants that load and encode your ncAA
  • Overview of ncAA classes and categories, current status of the field
  • Characterizing synthetase selection hits - How good is good enough?
  • Plasmid architecture and cloning (E. coli)
  • Plasmid architecture and cloning (Mammalian cells)
  • How to design and build custom libraries
  • Good, bad, the ugly - and the future of GCE

Course Selection Process

The number of participants 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 upload two files in their application: 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 or bioorthogonal ligations, 2) how they will apply genetic code expansion and biorthogonal ligation in their current projects or teaching, and 3) their long-term goals in learning more about genetically encoding bioorthogonal ligation. 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.