In November 2016, developmental biologists, synthetic biologists and engineers gathered in Paris for a meeting called ‘Engineering the embryo’. The participants shared an interest in exploring how synthetic systems can reveal new principles of embryonic development, and how the in vitro manipulation and modeling of development using stem cells can be used to integrate ideas and expertise from physics, developmental biology and tissue engineering. As we review here, the conference pinpointed some of the challenges arising at the intersection of these fields, along with great enthusiasm for finding new approaches and collaborations.
The authors declare no competing or financial interests.
A.K. is supported by the Institute of Science and Technology (IST) Austria and by the European Research Council under Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (680037).