Policy WG

  • Ryan Tappel

    Bachelor’s (John Carroll University) and Ph.D. (SUNY-Environmental Science & Forestry) in Biochemistry. Worked at LanzaTech as part of the Synthetic Biology team since 2014. Focus on enzymology-related research as well as regulatory efforts.

  • India Hook-Barnard

    India Hook-Barnard is Executive Director of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC). Her primary interests are in the areas of synthetic biology, precision medicine, responsible innovation, and biosecurity. India enjoys building multidisciplinary collaborations and developing a vision and strategy to address complex challenges. She works with experts and leaders from across academia, industry, and government sectors to identify and shape scientific opportunities, technical feasibility, and policy issues. Her goal is to advance and accelerate engineering biology solutions across all application areas, drive innovation, and grow the bioeconomy for all. 

    Prior to joining EBRC, India was Senior Advisor to the Beyond 2020: A Vision and Pathway for NIH Working Group, and Senior Vice President for Patient Outcomes and Experience at the National Marrow Donor Program. She was the Director of Research Strategy and Associate Director, Precision Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco; she helped launch and was the Executive Director for the California Initiative to Advance Precision Medicine. Earlier in her career, India worked at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM), focusing on areas of emerging science and technology, including policy issues of data governance, regulation, bioethics, biodefense, and workforce development. At NASEM, she directed standing committees, workshops, and six consensus reports, including Toward Precision Medicine: Building a Knowledge Network for Biomedical Research and a New Taxonomy of Disease (2011).

    As a postdoctoral research fellow at the National Institutes of Health, India studied the regulation of gene expression in bacteria and phage. She earned her PhD in Microbiology-Medicine from the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Missouri.

  • Shadi Mamaghani

    Shadi Mamaghani, Ph.D., is a AAAS Science and Technology Policy Fellow at National Science Foundation. She is a cell and molecular biologist with a passion for convergence of different disciplines of science with engineering and medicine. Shadi believes that the next big discovery or cure will happen by cross-disciplinary training of scientists and building bridges amongst various scientific communities that are otherwise siloed. With this vision in mind, as a AAAS Fellow, Shadi has joined the Division of Materials Research at NSF, to facilitate new collaborations between the material research scientists with synthetic biologists. Within this capacity, Shadi is contributing to The Interagency working Group on Bioconvergence and is involved with EBRC’s road mapping on the intersection of Materials Research and Engineering Biology.
    Prior to joining the Fellowship program, Shadi worked as Scientific Program Manager and Subject Matter Expert at ERPi Consulting and Management firm and as a Program Director at National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) at National Institutes of Health (NIH). At NIH, Shadi established the “ImmunoEngineering” Program- a trans-disciplinary program, where development of novel cures for diseases of immune system (such as cancer, HIV, inflammation, etc), involves engineering, math and computational biology. This program led to the development of multiple funding opportunities across different Institutes at NIH, including a new U54 Center Grants within NCI Cancer Moonshot Initiative. During her time at NIH, Shadi served on different scientific committees and coordinated the Inter-agency working Group on Medical Imaging in collaboration with the Office of Science and technology of the White House (OSTP) and 12 other agencies.
    Shadi received her doctorate degree from University of Toronto, Canada with a focus on developing a new treatment for pancreatic cancer.

  • Merja Penttilä

    Merja Penttilä is a research professor in biotechnology at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, and an adjunct professor in synthetic biology at Aalto University. Her expertise is on engineering of microbes for the production of fuels, chemicals, enzymes and materials. She has acted as the director of the Academy of Finland CoE on White biotechnology – Green chemistry, and is a PI in the current CoE on Molecular engineering of biosynthetic hybrid materials (Hyber). She has coordinated a large strategic project “Living Factories: Synthetic Biology for a sustainable Bioeconomy”, and led many EU level and industrial projects. She is acting an advisory board or committee member of a number of international organisations. She is the initiator of Synbio Powerhouse, an ecosystem to promote biotechnology and synthetic biology in Finland and beyond. She has total of 334 publications, 14 457 Web of science citations, and h-index of 70.

  • Samuel Leach

    Sam is a 2nd year PhD student in Chemical and Biological Engineering at Northwestern University. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He currently researches utilizing the type III secretion system in Salmonella for efficient, large scale biomanufacturing. He is interested in next-generation biotechnology, scale-up engineering, and science diplomacy.

  • Julie Ming Liang

    I am a graduate student in the Tullman-Ercek lab at Northwestern.

  • Jussi Jantti

  • 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.

  • Ken Oye

  • Nigel Mouncey

    Dr. Mouncey joined the DOE Joint Genome Institute in 2017 as the fourth Director in its 20-year history. After stints as a senior research scientist in molecular biology at Roche Vitamins, Inc. in New Jersey and DSM Nutritional Products in Switzerland, he joined Dow AgroSciences in Indianapolis in 2008 and served as Bioengineering and Bioprocessing R&D Director and Leader from 2011 onward. There, Mouncey directed a 70-member R&D team that supported the growth of a highly successful natural product insecticide that has since generated hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue and significant societal benefit, through isolating, optimizing, and scaling-up of new production strains for commercial manufacturing by fermentation. He also built an integrated and highly effective bioprocessing team comprising high-throughput screening, metabolic engineering, engineering biology, systems biology, enzymology, protein expression, fermentation and analytical capabilities. His team also developed production strains and fermentation processes for other molecules such as a new fungicide, propionic acid and long-chain alcohols, as well as supporting the discovery of new crop traits.

  • 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.

  • Michelle O’Malley

    Michelle A. O’Malley is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 2004 and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware in 2009, where she worked with Prof. Anne Robinson to engineer overproduction of membrane proteins in yeast. O’Malley was a USDA-NIFA postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at MIT and the Broad Institute, where she developed new strategies for cellulosic biofuel production. At UCSB, her research group develops synthetic biology tools to engineer protein synthesis within anaerobes and microbial consortia for sustainable chemical production, bioremediation, and natural product discovery. O’Malley’s research has been featured on NPR’s Science Friday, the BBC Newshour, the LA Times, and several other media outlets. She was named one of the 35 Top Innovators Under 35 in the world by MIT Technology Review in 2015, and is the recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE), a DOE Early Career Award, an NSF CAREER award, the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award, the ACS BIOT Division Young Investigator Award, the ACS PMSE Division Young Investigator Award, an ACS WCC “Rising Star” Award, and a Hellman Faculty Fellowship.

  • Richard Kitney

    Richard Kitney

  • Karmella Haynes

    Karmella Haynes

  • Emma Frow

    Emma’s research and teaching activities focus on the governance of emerging biotechnologies, especially synthetic biology and biological engineering. She started her research life as a bioscientist, completing a PhD in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge, and then re-trained in the field of science & technology studies (STS) at the University of Edinburgh and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Her current faculty position at Arizona State University is a joint appointment between the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School of Biological & Health Systems Engineering, which allows her to straddle the worlds of science policy and bioengineering. Emma has been studying the field of synthetic biology for a decade now, working on a variety of social scientific and interdisciplinary projects in Europe and the US. She has specific research interests in the relationship between engineering and biology, and in the standards and infrastructures (physical, digital, social) being designed to support the development of this field. She sees standards and infrastructures as tools of governance, and is interested in identifying the values, design choices and visions of the future that get built into new infrastructures for biotechnology.

  • Matthew Chang

  • 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.

  • Megan Palmer

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