Mentors

  • Stacy-Anne Morgan

    Stacy-Anne Morgan is a Scientist at Zymergen. She received her MSc. (2005) and Ph.D. (2010) degrees from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Toronto where her work focused on engineering photocontrolled DNA-binding proteins. From 2011 to 2016, she was a postdoctoral researcher in Dave Savage’s group at the University of California, Berkeley where she worked on developing genetically encoded fluorescent sensors for metabolites. She is interested in working to increase diversity in STEM fields.

  • Carrie Cizauskas

    Carrie Cizauskas holds a veterinary degree (DVM) from Cornell and a PhD in disease ecology from the University of California Berkeley. Carrie started doing research as an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, completing a senior honors thesis on the immunology of malaria and earning the College of Letters and Science Dean’s Prize. Their veterinary work focused on wildlife and population medicine, leading to NIH EEID-supported graduate research in the Wayne Getz lab in the Department of Environmental Sciences, Policy, and Management at Berkeley on the ecological immunology and physiology of environmentally-transmitted coinfections in wildlife. Carrie did a Grand Challenges-supported postdoctoral fellowship at Princeton with Andy Dobson and Andrea Graham, researching interactions between the gut microbiome and macroparasites in wild non-human primates, and examining issues of infectious disease eradication and conservation. Carrie then made the leap from academia to industry, and now works as the Manager of Publishing and Academic Relations at Zymergen. As such, they work across the company to determine how to analyze data from interdisciplinary projects and publish on research involving microbiology, molecular biology, chemistry, data science, machine learning, and automation.

  • Roel Bovenberg

    I am currently working on natural product discovery programs, yeast strains and enzymes that can convert agricultural residues into bioethanol and various microbial cell factory programs for more sustainable production of enzymes, biochemicals and natural products, such as antibiotics. Another aspect is the development of both traditional evolution and bioinformatics methods for fast screening and safe engineering of desired microbial cell factories. At the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, my projects focus on the development of new cell engineering methods for filamentous fungi, to accelerate the discovery of natural products for – among other things – new antibiotics.The aspect of my work that excites and inspires me the most is that Biotechnology can contribute in many ways to the big global societal challenges, as outlined by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, by addressing key technical challenges and that DSM is in the position to make a real contribution. The fast developments in the Biological Sciences are both a constant challenge and a source of inspiration, especially the increasing knowledge and technologies to characterize, understand and deploy microbial life. Another source of inspiration is the necessity to do so in a responsible manner, which requires good education, relevant stakeholder networks, clear communication and continuous learning.

  • Douglas Friedman

    Douglas Friedman is CEO of BioMADE, the Bioindustrial Manufacturing Innovation Institute. In founding BioMADE, Doug seeks to secure the growth of the U.S. industrial biomanufacturing ecosystem and advance the bioeconomy. He is also President of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC), a nonprofit membership organization focused on advancing precompetitive technologies in a safe, secure, sustainable, and ethical manor. At EBRC, Doug focuses on strategic initiatives, serves on the board and key leadership groups, and mentors science policy postdoctoral fellows. He was the inaugural Executive Director of EBRC from 2016 to 2021.

    His primary scientific and technical interests lie in the fields of synthetic biology, biomanufacturing, and modern biotechnology. Doug’s policy interests include development of sustainable biotechnology, safeguarding the bioeconomy, and accelerating technical advancement by building diverse, robust community partnerships. He regularly serves as a subject matter expert on emerging biotechnologies, biotechnology policy, and national security topics at the interface of the biological and chemical sciences. Doug participates in more than a dozen external scientific and policy committees and boards.

    Prior to his role at EBRC, Doug was a study director and senior program officer with the Board on Chemical Sciences and Technology at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. His primary portfolio focused on the advancement of science and engineering at the interface of chemistry and biology, often as they related to national security.

    Earlier in his career, Doug performed research in physical organic chemistry and chemical biology in academia and industry. He earned a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Northwestern University and a B.S. in Chemical Biology from the University of California, Berkeley.

  • JL Clem Fortman

    Clem Fortman

    J. L. “Clem” Fortman is a synthetic biologist with a long standing interest in biodefense. He is currently a staff member at the EBRC, and was formerly a technical analyst for synthetic biology with ANSER providing support to the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Chemical and Biological Defense, where he previously served two years as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellow. He is also a former Fellow with the Emerging Leader in Biosecurity Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Health Security. Clem is a classically trained microbial physiologist with a PhD in microbiology from the University of Minnesota. He spent 6 years as a postdoc in the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) Department of Chemical Engineering where he gained his expertise in synthetic biology. He is a founder of the introductory College-Level Experience in Microbiology (iCLEM) program at UCB, an educational outreach program for under resourced high school students, as well as Lygos, a San Francisco Bay area synthetic biology company. His career in biodefense was stimulated by his time as an enlisted man in the US Army where he served in a number of different roles including assistant Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Non-Commissioned Officer for the Headquarters and Service Battery of the 1st Battalion 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment.

  • Emily Aurand

    Emily Aurand

    Emily Aurand is the Director of Roadmapping and Education at EBRC and serves as the executive editor of EBRC’s technical research roadmaps, available at https://roadmap.ebrc.org. Emily also serves as the EBRC Industry Internship Program director.

    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.

    Dr. Aurand 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 research experience spans the fields of developmental neurobiology, biomaterial development, and neural tissue engineering and biocompatibility.

    Emily is an United States Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist. In her free time, she likes to hike and practice yoga, dance in her kitchen while she cooks, and snuggle with her elderly cats. When she’s not traveling to convene with EBRC members and stakeholders, Emily lives and works in Fort Collins, Colorado.

  • Steve Evans

    Steven Evans

    Steven L. Evans spent 30 years bringing biotechnology products to the field in small and large companies. Steve’s research blended high-resolution chemical analysis with enzymology and recombinant protein expression to explore agricultural and environmental applications of biotechnology. In 1988 he joined Mycogen Corporation, now Corteva Agriscience, where he was involved in developing natural and recombinant biopesticides, including several crop traits from the Mycogen genome pipeline. He worked to commercialize biochemical actives from natural products, several transgenic crops, and plant genome editing technology. After retiring as a Fellow from Dow AgroSciences he founded Re-Knowvate LLC. His passion is to use this experience and repurpose it today in organizations which drive 21st century biotechnology so that they may learn from the actions of the early pioneers in applied biotechnology, thus accelerating their ability to develop and deploy new technologies to benefit our world. Steve has been active in public-private partnerships such as the National Science Foundation–sponsored SynBERC synthetic biology consortium, which is now the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC). He served as Chair of the SynBERC the Industrial Advisory Board, and is now active in various roles at the EBRC. Steve served on the National Academies of Sciences Future Products of Biotechnology study and is currently on the NAS Safeguarding the Bioeconomy study. He was co-chair of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization’s Industrial and Environmental Section synthetic biology subteam. He received his BA and BS degrees in chemistry and microbiology from the University of Mississippi and a PhD in microbial physiology from the University of Mississippi Medical School. He was a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, and subsequently with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in Peoria, Illinois.

  • Richard Johnson

    Richard Johnson

    Rick Johnson focuses on integrating policy and law with science, engineering, Big Data, and biomedicine to drive research and innovation and to enable problem-oriented solutions to global challenges. His current interests include: (1) synthetic biology, the engineering of biology, and the industrialization of biology; (2) the bioeconomy and next-generation production economy; (3) neuroscience and brain health, especially Alzheimer’s; and (4) policy issues for convergence, international S&T, and Big Data. Rick is the CEO and founder of Global Helix LLC, a thought leadership and innovative strategic positioning firm. After 30 years, Rick retired as Senior Partner at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C., where he represented many of the leading research universities, foundations, and innovative multinational companies about enabling basic research, international collaborations, innovation strategies, and public-private partnerships through innovative approaches to law and policy. Johnson is a member of the Board on Life Sciences at the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the NAS Synthetic Biology Leadership Forum, and serves as Chairman of the NAS Bioeconomy initiative. He is a member of several other NAS initiatives: biomedical innovation and precision medicine; convergence and next-generation infrastructures; synthetic biology and the industrialization of biology; the BRAIN initiative; and the intersection of science and security issues. He also serves as the Chairman of the BIAC Technology & Innovation Committee at the OECD, and he recently was named one of the 14 global members of the new OECD Global Advisory Council for Science, Technology, and Innovation. In addition, Rick is the Chairman of Brown’s Biology & Medicine Council and is a member of the boards for EBRC, the Stanford BioFab and BioBricks Foundation, and the iGEM Foundation for global education. For many years, Rick served on the MIT Corporation Committee, and numerous university-industry boards. In addition to receiving his Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School where he was Editor of the Yale Law Journal, he received his M.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a National Science Foundation National Fellow and MIT distinguished young scholar, and his undergraduate degree with highest honors from Brown University.

  • James Diggans

    James Diggans is Director, Data Science and Biosecurity for Twist Bioscience, a DNA synthesis company based in San Francisco, CA. He holds a PhD from George Mason University in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and has worked in target discovery, molecular diagnostic development and biodefense including five years leading the computational biology group at the MITRE Corporation. His research has included methods for efficient detection of biological weapons release, machine learning-based cancer diagnosis, and novel algorithmic approaches to discerning intent in oligonucleotide-length DNA synthesis requests. At Twist, his group builds cloud-based bioinformatics systems for effective biosecurity screening and analysis of next generation sequencing data to power silicon-based DNA synthesis at record scale.

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