Education WG

  • Elizabeth Vitalis

    Beth Vitalis joined Inscripta in 2019 to help stand-up Biosecurity for the company’s digital genome engineering platform. She and the company are committed to safe, responsible use of its technology and have prioritized a proactive strategy to identify and help prevent biorisk scenarios. Beth interacts with groups across the company to implement a multi-faceted biosecurity system and continually adapt it to an expanding range of genome engineering endeavors. She is enthusiastic to collaborate with the greater engineering biology community to ensure security of our advancing technologies. After obtaining her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences at UC San Francisco, Beth joined Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California where she led or contributed to various government supported biorisk detection and characterization efforts. Her projects included standardized pathogen assays, microbe evolution, functional predictions, and synthetic biology risk assessment. She also has enjoyed graduate and undergrad biology teaching roles and participating in community science education events.

  • Marilene Pavan

    Currently working as Scientist at LanzaTech Inc., I am a professional with 12+ years of experience in the fields of synthetic biology, metabolic engineering and biomanufacturing. Expertise also include: partnerships (prospection and management), people management and mentorship, fundraising, business development, writing of grants, patents, and scientific articles, project management, budget management, scientific consulting, planning of scientific conferences, speaker.

  • Michael Sheets

    As a graduate student in the Dunlop Lab at Boston University, Michael uses optogenetic tools to study the development of antibiotic resistance. His current work focuses on the design & characterization of light-inducible recombinases in bacteria. He is broadly interested in using synthetic biology to combat antibiotic resistance, and incorporating the DBTL cycle into K-12 and undergraduate education.

  • Aditya Kunjapur

    Dr. Aditya Kunjapur began as an Assistant Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware in December 2018. His lab focuses on expanding the repertoire of microbial chemistry with an emphasis on enabling new chemical functional groups in living contexts. Dr. Kunjapur received his doctoral degree from MIT in 2015, where he trained under Dr. Kristala Prather and enabled aldehyde biosynthesis in E. coli. Afterwards, he performed postdoctoral research under the supervision of Dr. George Church at Harvard Medical School, where he designed platforms to improve the fidelity of non-standard amino acid incorporation into proteins. Dr. Kunjapur was previously Co-Chair of the Synberc Student and Postdoc Association, the precursor to the EBRC. In 2019, Dr. Kunjapur was awarded an Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative Fellowship.

  • Patrick Shih

    Patrick M. Shih, PhD, is an Assistant Professor at UC Davis and the Director of Plant Biosystems Design at the Joint BioEnergy Institute. He received his PhD from UC Berkeley in Plant Biology engineering synthetic carbon fixation pathways and studying the evolution of photosynthesis with Kris Niyogi and Cheryl Kerfeld. Patrick then did a postdoc at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory developing plant synthetic biology tools for complex metabolic engineering efforts. His research is focused on utilizing synthetic biology to expand our understanding of plant metabolism. A basic understanding of the evolution of metabolism will guide novel approaches to engineering metabolic pathways for applications in agriculture, sustainability, human health, and bioenergy.

  • Katherine Bates

    I am an Associate Professor of Biology at the United States Air Force Academy, where I am responsible for teaching the Genetics course. Additionally, I am the Director of Health Professions Advising, one of the PIs for the USAFA iGEM team, and conduct my own research on environmental microbiomes and bacterial genomics.

  • J. Kenneth Wickiser

    Current: Associate Professor and Director of Life Science, Department of Chemistry and Life Science, West Point, NY
    2007-2012 Faculty, Department of Chemistry and Life Science, West Point, NY
    2004-2007 Postdoctoral Associate, Laboratory of Molecular Neuro-oncology, Rockefeller University, NY
    1999-2004 Graduate Student, Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, CT
    1992-1999 Army Officer, pilot, staff officer, ROTC instructor, AL, AZ, GA, and PR.
    1988-1992 Cadet, West Point, NY

  • Lawrence Kennedy

  • Emily Aurand

    Emily Aurand

    Emily Aurand is the Director of Roadmapping and Education at EBRC. Emily serves as the executive editor of EBRC’s technical research roadmaps, and has led the production and release of five EBRC technical roadmaps to-date, all of which are available through https://roadmap.ebrc.org. Emily also serves as the EBRC Industry Internship Program director and leads the EBRsee outreach and education project, spearheading the recent collaboration with the Tumble Science Podcast for Kids to create “Life Lab” a five episode podcast series about engineering biology for school-aged kids and their families. Emily supervises and mentors the EBRC science policy postdocs and research assistant and supports the Student & Postdoc Association. Emily also leads and contributes to EBRC science policy communications, contributes and reports on funding and grant support, and oversees and manages the EBRC websites.

    Prior to coming to EBRC, Emily was an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation. At NSF her work in the Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems (CBET) included evaluation and assessment of the Synthetic Biology and Biomanufacturing portfolios, collaboration on the strategic reorganization of CBET programmatic concentrations, and development and implementation of novel funding initiatives, in addition to serving as a subject matter expert (a biologist amongst engineers). During her AAAS fellowship, Emily also served as a co-chair of the Fellows’ Science Diplomacy Affinity Group, which explores how science and technology cooperation can be used as a tool for diplomacy.

    Emily received a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from Colorado State University and a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Colorado. She continued her academic training in Trieste, Italy with a neuroengineering post-doctoral fellowship at the International School for Advanced Studies (SISSA). Her scientific research experience spans the fields of developmental neurobiology, biomaterial development, and neural tissue engineering and biocompatibility.

    Emily is a United States Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist and the proud Auntie to adorable baby Jack. In her free time, she likes to relax by practicing yoga, dancing in her kitchen while she cooks, and snuggling with her elderly cats, who make frequent appearances in EBRC virtual events. When she’s not traveling to convene with EBRC members and stakeholders, Emily lives and works in Fort Collins, Colorado.

  • Danielle Tullman-Ercek

  • Terry Johnson

  • Mary Dunlop

    Mary Dunlop is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University with additional appointments in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology & Biochemistry and Bioinformatics. She graduated from Princeton University with a B.S.E. in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and a minor in Computer Science. She then received her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, where she studied synthetic biology with a focus on dynamics and feedback in gene regulation. As a postdoctoral scholar, she conducted research on biofuel production at the Department of Energy’s Joint BioEnergy Institute. Her lab engineers novel synthetic feedback control systems and also studies naturally occurring examples of feedback in gene regulation. In recognition of her outstanding research and service contributions, she has received many honors including a Department of Energy Early Career Award, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the ACS Synthetic Biology Young Investigator Award.

  • Mark Styczynski

    Mark received a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame in 2002 and a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 2007. He also did postdoctoral work at the Broad Institute from 2007-2009. At Georgia Tech, Mark’s work spans synthetic and systems biology, and often includes work at the intersection of those two fields. His main Engineering Biology focus is on the development of low-cost, low-resource diagnostics.

  • Vincent Noireaux

    Vincent Noireaux got his B.Sc. in applied physics at the University of Tours (France) in 1994. In 1995 he moved to Paris for physics graduate school at the University Paris 11 (Orsay). He did his PhD at the Curie Institute (Paris, 1996-2000) in biological physics in the laboratory of Jacques Prost on the motion of the bacterium Listeria. He studied the actin cytoskeleton mechanisms involved in cell motility and learned the biology related to this project in the laboratory of Daniel Louvard. In 2000 he joined the laboratory of Albert Libchaber at the Rockefeller University in New York City where he spent five years as a postdoc. He used cell-free expression systems to construct elementary gene networks and synthetic cell systems. In 2005, he moved to the University of Minnesota where he is pursuing his work in synthetic biology using cell-free expression. His research consists of constructing and characterizing biochemical systems by executing synthetic DNA programs in vitro, from simple regulatory elements to synthetic cells.

  • Joshua Leonard

  • Julius Lucks

    Julius B. Lucks is Associate Chair and Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. Research in the Lucks Lab asks fundamental questions about the molecules of life. They are particularly fascinated by how RNA, DNA’s close chemical cousin, acts as a mini molecular computer inside cells, allowing it to continuously monitor the status of itself and its environment. They then translate newly discovered fundamental knowledge into new ways to engineer biological systems for the health of ourselves and the planet, with recent applications to sustainable biomanufacturing and low cost water quality diagnostics.

    For his research, Professor Lucks has been recognized with a number of awards including a DARPA Young Faculty Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Research Fellowship, an ONR Young Investigator Award, an NIH New Innovator Award, an NSF CAREER award, the ACS Synthetic Biology Young Investigator Award, and most recently a Camille-Dreyfus Teacher Scholar Award. Professor Lucks is also heavily invested in helping to train the next generation of scientists and engineers through his co-founding of the Cold Spring Harbor Synthetic Biology Summer Course and his roles as a founding board member of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium. Please visit http://luckslab.org or on twitter @luckslab for more information.

  • Natalie Kuldell

    Dr. Natalie Kuldell leads BioBuilder, a nonprofit organization that inspires the next generation of innovators with authentic science and engineering. BioBuilder’s synthetic biology curriculum breeds excitement by helping students and teachers design and then build
    biotechnologies that solve real problems throughout the US and around the world. A BioBuilder textbook was published by O’Reilly Media. In 2017, BioBuilder opened a community lab in Kendall Square’s LabCentral.

    Dr. Kuldell studied Chemistry as an undergraduate at Cornell, completed her doctoral and post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School, and taught at Wellesley College before joining the Department of Biological Engineering faculty at MIT in 2003. She is the 2020 recipient of the Margret and H.A. Rey Curiosity Award.

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