Individual Members

  • Devaki Bhaya

  • Keith Yamamoto

    Dr. Keith R. Yamamoto is vice chancellor for science policy and strategy, director of precision medicine, and professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at UCSF. After earning his PhD from Princeton University, Yamamoto joined the UCSF faculty in 1976. His research has focused on signaling and transcriptional regulation by nuclear receptors; he uses mechanistic and systems approaches to pursue these problems in pure molecules, cells and whole organisms. He has led or served on numerous national committees focused on public and scientific policy, public understanding and support of biological research, science education, and diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism; he currently chairs the Coalition for the Life Sciences, co-chairs the NASEM Roundtable on Aligning Incentives for Open Science, and sits on the Board of Directors of the Public Library of Science, the Board of Directors of Rapid Science, the Governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Board of Counselors for the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, and the Advisory Board for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He has chaired or served on many committees that oversee training and the biomedical workforce, research funding, and the process of peer review and the policies that govern it at NIH. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Medicine, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Microbiology, and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  • Nathan Crook

  • Jeff Nivala

    ​I’m Jeff Nivala, a Research Assistant Professor in the Allen School of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Washington. I work closely with other faculty and students as part of the Molecular Information Systems Lab. My scientific interests are focused on technology development with molecular and synthetic biology. My post-doctoral work was performed in George Church’s lab at Harvard Medical School. I was a graduate student fellow of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) as a PhD student in the UCSC Nanopore Group with Mark Akeson, and a Washington Research Foundation Fellow in David Baker’s lab during my undergraduate work.

  • Gregory Koblentz

    Gregory D. Koblentz is an Associate Professor and Director of the Biodefense Graduate Program at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. The Biodefense Graduate Program is a multidisciplinary research and education program designed to prepare students to work on issues at the nexus of health, science, and security. He also directs the Summer Workshop on Pandemics and Global Health Security at the Schar School and is the Editor-in-Chief of The Pandora Report. Dr. Koblentz is a member of the Scientist Working Group on Biological and Chemical Security at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation in Washington, DC. He serves as a pro bono advisor for the Open Society Justice Initiative and DARPA, as a consultant for the Stimson Center on their cheminformatics program, and is a member of the Biothreat Advisory Board of Heat Biologics. Dr. Koblentz is the author of Strategic Stability in the Second Nuclear Age (Council on Foreign Relations, 2014) and Living Weapons: Biological Warfare and International Security (Cornell University Press, 2009) and co-author of Mapping Maximum Biological Containment Labs Globally (London: King’s College London, May 2021), Editing Biosecurity: Needs and Strategies for Governing Genome Editing (George Mason University and Stanford University, 2018), and Tracking Nuclear Proliferation: A Guide in Maps and Charts (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1998). His research and teaching focus on understanding the causes and consequences of the proliferation of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons to state and non-state actors and the impact of emerging technologies on international security. He received a PhD in political science from MIT and a MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School.

  • David Riglar

    David has been a Wellcome Trust/Royal Society Sir Henry Dale Fellow in the Department of Infectious Disease at Imperial College London since 2019. His lab uses a combination of synthetic biology, imaging and sequencing based approaches to better understand the function of the gut and its microbiota during health and disease. Using this knowledge they are developing innovative technologies, such as living engineered probiotics, to probe and control the mammalian gut environment.

    Prior to starting his lab, David undertook his postdoc in Pamela Silver’s laboratory at Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. As a Human Frontier Science Long-term Fellow and NHMRC/ RG Menzies Fellow, David’s work focussed on using synthetic biology approaches to engineer bacteria as tools to probe the mammalian gut environment.

    In 2013, David completed his PhD with Jake Baum and Alan Cowman at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute (University of Melbourne) in Melbourne, Australia. His PhD research investigated how the parasites responsible for human malaria disease infect red blood cells using cutting-edge imaging platforms.

    David holds a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Melbourne.

  • David Truong

    The Truong lab uses principles from synthetic and systems biology, cell fate reprogramming, epigenetics, and immunology. He and his team “rewrite” the human genome in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) to build cell therapies and regenerative medicine. The group is developing an off-the-shelf chassis iPSC that can be given to any person without immune rejection. This chassis iPSC will enable large-scale restructuring of the human genome, introduction of large and more sophisticated genetic circuits for cell programming, and the production of any somatic cell for living therapies. The group currently focuses on developing programmable off-the-shelf Dendritic Cells from human iPSCs as an immunotherapy platform.

  • Nicole Buan

    Nicole Buan is an Associate Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has broad expertise in microbial physiology, metabolism, and redox biochemistry. Dr. Buan recently co-founded the Archaea Power Hour virtual seminar series and serves as Associate Editor for Applied Environmental Microbiology and Frontiers in Microbiology (Microbial Physiology and Metabolism) journals. Dr. Buan began research as a high school student in Tucson, Arizona, where she did undergraduate thesis research on ATP-independent molecular chaperone proteins in plants under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Vierling at the University of Arizona. She received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was a Howard Hughes Predoctoral Fellow in the lab of Jorge Escalante-Semerena. There, she made key contributions to understanding protein:protein interactions involved in coenzyme B12 synthesis in Salmonella, discovered the only known iron-sulfur-cluster-containing B12 adenosyltransferase enzyme, and investigated the use of B12 mimics as chemotherapeutic “Trojan horses”. Her graduate work was recognized by the Department of Bacteriology Herman Smythe Award for Outstanding PhD research. As a NIH Kirschstein Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of William Metcalf at the University of Illinois, Dr. Buan received training in methanogen genetics and characterized the terminal oxidase heterodisulfide reductase enzymes. At Nebraska, Dr. Buan and her students study redox biochemistry, systems, and synthetic biology in archaea, bacteria, and plants on various projects funded by NSF, NIH, USDA, Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences Research, Nebraska Corn Board, and the Water Environment Reuse Foundation. Buan lab research has been awarded two patents, and Dr. Buan is the owner of two biotech startups.

  • Xiaojun Tian

    Dr. Xiaojun Tian received his Ph. D. degree in systems biology from Nanjing University in 2012 and spent five years as a postdoctoral fellow at Virginia Tech and the University of Pittsburgh. In 2017, he joined the School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering at Arizona State University to start his lab and synthetic biology research. His lab has made outstanding achievements with several publications at Nature Chemical Biology, Nature Communications, and ACS synthetic biology. In addition, he recently received the NIH Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) award.

  • Arum Han

    Dr. Arum Han is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and also in the Department of Biomedical Engineering (courtesy joint appointment) at Texas A&M University (USA). He joined Texas A&M University in 2005 as an Assistant Professor. He is also a faculty of the Texas A&M Health Science Center and the Texas A&M Institute for Neuroscience. He received his Ph.D from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2005, his M.S. from the University of Cincinnati in 2000, and his B.S. from the Seoul National University in 1997, all in electrical engineering.

    His research interests are in solving grand challenge problems in the broad areas of health and energy through the use of micro/nano systems technologies. His work in these areas has focused on the development of high-throughput lab-on-a-chip systems for single-cell-resolution assays, synthetic biology and biotechnology applications, as well as development of organ-on-a-chip systems through

    He has co-authored more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and has received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, NIH, NSF, DARPA, DTRA, USDA, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, Qatar National Research Foundation (QNRF), and several other international sponsors and private companies. He currently serves as the editorial board member of the journal PLoS ONE, Algal Research, and Biotechnology and Bioprocess Engineering, as well as associate editor for the journal Biomedical Microdevices.

    He is a Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) Fellow (2012), Eugene Webb Faculty Fellow of Texas A&M University (2014), recipient of the Engineering Genesis Award for Multidisciplinary Research from Texas A&M University (2014), recipient of the E. D. Brockett Professorship Award (2015), recipient of the Dean of Engineering Excellence Award (2016), and became the Presidential Impact Fellow of the Texas A&M University in 2017.

  • Christopher Mason

    Dr. Christopher Mason is an Associate Professor of Genomics, Physiology, and Biophysics at Weill Cornell Medicine and the Director of the WorldQuant Initiative for Quantitative Prediction. He also holds affiliate appointments at the Tri-I Program on Computational Biology and Medicine (Cornell, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and Rockefeller University), Harvard Medical School, and Yale Law School.
    The Mason laboratory develops and deploys new biochemical and computational methods in functional genomics to elucidate the genetic basis of human disease and physiology. We create and deploy novel techniques in next-generation sequencing and algorithms for: tumor evolution, genome evolution, DNA and RNA modifications, and genome/epigenome engineering. We also work closely with NIST/FDA to build international standards for these methods (SEQC2, IMMSA, and Epigenomics QC groups), to ensure clinical-quality genome measurements and editing. We also work with NASA to build integrated molecular portraits of genomes, epigenomes, transcriptomes, and metagenomes for astronauts, which help establish the molecular foundations and genetic defenses for enabling long-term human spaceflight.
    Dr. Mason has won the NIH’s Transformative R01 Award, the NASA Group Achievement Award, the Pershing Square Sohn Cancer Research Alliance Young Investigator award, the Hirschl-Weill-Caulier Career Scientist Award, the Vallee Scholar Award, the CDC Honor Award for Standardization of Clinical Testing, and the WorldQuant Foundation Scholar Award. He was named as one of the “Brilliant Ten” Scientists by Popular Science, featured as a TEDMED speaker, and called “The Genius of Genetics” by 92Y. He has >230 peer-reviewed papers and scholarly works that have been featured on the covers of Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Biotechnology, Nature Microbiology, and Neuron, as well as legal briefs cited by the U.S. District Court and U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Cinnamon Bloss

    Cinnamon Bloss, Ph.D. is Associate Professor in the Herbert Wertheim School of Public Health and Longevity Science and Director of the Center for Empathy and Technology at the University of California San Diego. Dr. Bloss is jointly appointed in the Department of Psychiatry and the Division of Biomedical Informatics in the School of Medicine. Dr. Bloss researches social and behavioral phenomena related to emerging technologies, with a particular focus on genetic and genomic research, precision health, and big data. Her research is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and philanthropic donations. Dr. Bloss serves as a member of the Novel and Exceptional Technology and Research Advisory Committee, a federal advisory committee that provides recommendations to the NIH Director and a public forum for the discussion of the scientific, safety, and ethical issues associated with emerging biotechnologies. Dr. Bloss has given invited talks at the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the National Press Club, the National Institutes of Health, and has presented invited testimony before a Food and Drug Administration Advisory Panel to inform consumer genomics policy. Dr. Bloss was recognized by the Western Societies of Medicine with the Carmel Prize for Research Excellence and has received numerous teaching awards at the University of California San Diego.

  • Jenny Mortimer

    Jenny Mortimer is A/Professor of Plant Synthetic Biology at the University of Adelaide, in the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, & the Waite Research Institute, an Affiliate Staff Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) USA, and the Director of Plant Systems Biology at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, USA.

    After completion of her PhD at Cambridge University, UK, she completed postdoctoral training in the UK (also at Cambridge University), a fellowship at RIKEN, Japan, and then a move to LBNL as a Research Scientist. She relocated to Adelaide in 2021.

    Her team’s research focuses on understanding and manipulating plant cell metabolism, with a focus on complex glycosylation. The goal is to develop crops which contribute to a sustainable and renewable bioeconomy. In Adelaide, her new group is using synbio to develop new crops (such as duckweed) for food and novel materials production in controlled growth environments – including for Space settlement. Other projects include engineering glycans to deliver plants with increased (a)biotic stress tolerance. In the US, her group works to reengineer the plant cell wall for the sustainable production of fuels and biochemicals from biomass. Her lab is also developing new synbio and bioinformatics tools for bioenergy crops, and investigating the role of plant cell walls in recruiting and retaining the rhizosphere microbiome, She was selected as a World Economic Forum Young Scientist (2016/17), where she contributed to the WEF Code of Ethics for Researchers (widgets.weforum.org/coe), and she is a Handling editor for Plant Cell Physiology. Twitter @Jenny_Mortimer1, and more about her research here: mortimerlab.org .

  • Cong Trinh

    Dr. Cong T. Trinh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Dr. Trinh earned his B.S in Chemical Engineering (summa cum laude, honors thesis) with minors in Chemistry and Mathematics from The University of Houston and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. He then worked as a post-doc scholar at The University of California, Berkeley.

  • Jennifer Brophy

    Jenn Brophy is an Assistant Professor of Bioengineering at Stanford University. Her lab focuses on engineering plant development to control the size and shape of plant organs and tissues. Jenn received her BS in bioengineering from UC Berkeley and PhD from MIT, where she worked with Professors Christopher Voigt and Alan Grossman to develop a tool for engineering undomesticated bacteria and modifying microbiomes in situ. For her postdoctoral research, she worked with Professor Jose Dinneny at Stanford to engineer spatial patterns of gene expression across plant roots using synthetic genetic circuits. Jenn was previously Co-Chair of the Synberc Student and Postdoc Association, the precursor to the EBRC and was recently awarded a Chan Zuckerburg Biohub Investigatorship.

  • Umakant Mishra

  • Theodore Anton

    I am a popular science and nonfiction author. My most recent book was Planet of Microbes (University of Chicago Press, 2017). I’m writing a book called Programmable Planet: The Synthetic Biology Revolution to be published by Columbia University Press in fall, 2022.

  • Niall Mangan

    Niall M. Mangan received the Dual BS degrees in mathematics and physics, with a minor in chemistry, from Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, USA, in 2008, and the PhD degree in systems biology from Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA, in 2013. Dr. Mangan worked as a postdoctoral associate in the Photovoltaics Lab at MIT from 2013-2015 and as an Acting Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, Seattle from 2016-2017. She is currently an Assistant Professor of engineering sciences and applied mathematics with Northwestern University, where she works at the interface of mechanistic modeling, machine learning, and statistical inference. Her group applies these methods to many applications including metabolic and regulatory networks to accelerate the build-test-learn cycle.

  • Omar Akbari

    In May of 2005, Omar Akbari received a B.S./M.S. in Biotechnology from the University of Nevada, Reno. In December of 2008, he received a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Nevada, Reno where he studied transcriptional regulation during development. He then joined the laboratory of professor Bruce A. Hay at the California Institute of Technology as a Postdoctoral Scholar to develop population control technologies for animals. In 2015, he became an Assistant Professor of Entomology in the Center for Infectious Disease Vector Research (CIDVR) at the University of California, Riverside. In fall of 2017, he joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor in the Cell and Developmental Biology Section, within the Division of Biological Sciences, at the University of California, San Diego. In 2018 he co-founded Agragene a biotechnology based startup in San Diego, CA. In 2019 he was promoted to Associate Professor (w/Tenure) in the Cell and Developmental Biology Section, within the Division of Biological Sciences at the University of California, San Diego.

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