I am a Scientist and Head of the Laboratory of Antibody Discovery & Accelerated Protein Therapeutics (ADAPT) at the Houston Methodist Research Institute (HMRI). My work encompasses a broad range of engineering biology, from the design of simple genetic “parts” and circuits to protein engineering and industrial biomanufacturing. I use a foundation in synthetic biology to domesticate non-model organisms and then use these tools and chasses to engineer proteins or biosynthetic pathways with therapeutic and industrial potential. I use a holistic approach to protein engineering by employing concepts in directed evolution, rational design, and artificial intelligence to create biological countermeasures, diagnostics, and vaccine candidates. Over the last few years, my group has been involved in the genomic surveillance and characterization of SARS-COV-2, B-cell repertoire mining for neutralization and protection assays, and the engineering of enzymes for use in mRNA vaccine manufacturing.
I also spent the last four years as a DoD scientist. In that time, I designed and built the Army’s Biological Foundry co-located at the University of Texas at Austin. This work increased DoD capability in the field of synthetic biology for early-stage research efforts. From 2019 to 2021, I also served as the government CTO of the Bioindustrial Manufacturing Innovation Institute– BioMADE. As the technical architect of the institute, I led the creation of a public-private partnership to develop innovations at scale for biological production of non-medical products. Prior to that, I led an in-house R&D effort in the private sector.