Security WG

  • Ying-Chiang Jeffrey Lee

    Ying-Chiang is a graduate student in the Donia Lab at Princeton University. He currently works on the capture and characterization of novel bioactive microbiome-derived peptides, particularly focusing on host-microbe interactions. The long term goal is to engineer therapeutic peptides from natural templates. Before coming to Princeton, Ying-Chiang completed his undergraduate work at Washington University in St. Louis where he worked in the Moon Lab and Virgin Lab. He then completed an MPH specializing in Global Health followed by an MEng.

  • Sarah Carter

    Dr. Carter is the Principal at Science Policy Consulting LLC where she focuses on societal and policy implications of emerging biotechnologies, including issues of responsible innovation, biosafety, and biosecurity. She is currently focused on the advanced biotechnologies industry, synthetic biology and DNA sequence screening, and international norms for biosecurity. In recent years, she has worked with several U.S. government agencies as well as industry, academia, and non-profit institutions. Previously, she worked in the Policy Center of the J. Craig Venter Institute and at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). She is a former AAAS S&T Policy Fellow and a former Mirzayan S&T Fellow of the National Academies. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of California, San Francisco and her bachelor’s degree from Duke University.

  • Todd Treangen

    I am an Assistant Professor in the Computer Science Department at Rice University in Houston, TX. My research group focuses on bioinformatics, specializing in metagenomics, biosecurity, and microbial forensics. In addition, I have prioritized developing open-source bioinformatics software and analysis pipelines designed to facilitate exploratory and hypothesis-driven biological research, aimed at the intersection of microbial ecology, comparative genomics, and computer science. https://www.gitlab.com/treangenlab

  • John Dileo

    John Dileo manages the Biotechnology and Life Sciences Department at the MITRE Corporation in McLean, Virginia. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics & Biochemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and has specialized in experimental and theoretical research in molecular, systems, and synthetic biology, while also providing support and oversight to numerous large Government research and development programs in those fields of study. At MITRE, his department has groups that focus on biosafety, security and quality; countering weapons of mass destruction; medical countermeasures development; and human performance optimization.

  • 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.

  • David Shepherd

    David Shepherd is a Program Manager for the Department of Homeland Security, in its Science and Technology Directorate. He manages projects that help DHS and the interagency understand threats and risks stemming from biological agents and related advances. His projects range from in-depth studies of threats to creating measures to mitigate those risks and threats, with emphasis on efforts to build intergovernmental awareness and understanding. Recently Mr. Shepherd has started projects to bring the government community and the commercial community closer together to build the collaborative means to address 21st century threats, including risks to the bioeconomy. He also manages the Hazard Knowledge Center within DHS S&T’s Probablistic Awareness of National Threats, Hazards and Risks (PANTHR) program, and is S&T’s liaison to the DOD’s Combatting Terrorism Technical Support Office. Mr. Shepherd has been a federal program manager working in threat and risk awareness and reduction for over two decades. He has degrees in electrical engineering, history, and telecommunications.

  • Becky Mackelprang

    Becky received her Ph.D. in Plant Biology in 2017 from UC Berkeley where she studied plant responses to bacterial and fungal pathogens. Interested in supporting science away from the bench, she completed a science communication postdoc with Dr. Peggy Lemaux and was an AAAS Mass Media Fellow at Ensia where she wrote about agriculture and biotechnology. She joined EBRC in 2019 as a postdoc supporting the Security Focus Area and has transitioned to a new role as EBRC’s Associate Director for Security Programs.

  • Sam Weiss Evans

    Sam’s work focuses on the governance of security concerns in emerging research technology, especially biology. He studies and actively engages with a range of communities building new approaches to the identification and governance of security concerns, including US and British governments, the international Genetically Engineered Machines Competition, DARPA, and the United Nations Institute on Disarmament Research.

  • Bridget Luckie

    I graduated from Clemson University in 2018 with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.S. in Genetics and am a rising 2nd year PhD student in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley.

  • Jean Peccoud

    Dr. Peccoud’s research program focuses on synthetic biology informatics. His group combines computational and experimental efforts to develop predictive models of behaviors encoded in synthetic DNA sequences. He is particularly interested in using methods from synthetic biology to optimize biomanufacturing processes used to produce biologic drugs, antibodies, and other proteins of commercial interest. Peccoud is also actively engaged in efforts to understand the security implications of synthetic biology.

    Shortly after completing a graduate research project in molecular immunology, Jean Peccoud’s scientific interests shifted to computational biology. In 1989, he published one of the first articles describing a mathematical model of molecular noise in gene regulatory networks. In 1993, he recognized the importance of real-time PCR and developed new statistical techniques suitable to analyze this new type of data. In 2002, he observed with excitement the very early developments of synthetic biology. After exploring the potential applications of this new technology to plant biotechnology, he blazed a trail in synthetic biology informatics.

    Jean Peccoud came to Colorado State University from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech. He brought with him a diverse experience that includes working for Fortune 500 and start-up companies. He is the founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Synthetic Biology published by Oxford University Press.

  • Kate Adamala

    Kate Adamala is a biochemist building synthetic cells. Her research aims at understanding chemical principles of biology, using artificial cells to create new tools for bioengineering, drug development, and basic research. Kate’s research spans questions from the origin and earliest evolution of life, using synthetic biology to colonize space, to the future of biotechnology and medicine.

  • Farren Isaacs

  • Laurie Zoloth

    Laurie Zoloth

    A leader in the field of religious studies with particular scholarly interest in bioethics and Jewish studies, Laurie Zoloth’s research explores religion and ethics, drawing from sources ranging from Biblical and Talmudic texts to postmodern Jewish philosophy, including the writings of Emmanuel Levinas. Her scholarship spans the ethics of genetic engineering, stem cell research, synthetic biology, social justice in health care, and how science and medicine are taught. She also researches the practices of interreligious dialogue, exploring how religion plays a role in public discussion and policy.

    Zoloth is author of Health Care and the Ethics of Encounter: A Jewish Discussion of Social Justice and co-editor of five books, including Notes from a Narrow Ridge: Religion and Bioethics and Jews and Genes: The Genetic Future in Contemporary Jewish Thought.

    Zoloth has been the president of the American Academy of Religion and the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities. She was the inaugural director of the Jewish Studies program at San Francisco State University and director of graduate studies in religious studies at Northwestern. She is an elected member of the Hastings Center and a life member of Clare Hall, University of Cambridge. She is a founding board member of the Society for Scriptural Reasoning.

    Her work on bioethics and health care led her to serve on the NASA Advisory Council, the space agency’s highest civilian advisory board; the International Planetary Protection Committee; the National Recombinant DNA Advisory Board, and the executive committee of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. She served as chair of the first bioethics advisory board at the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute and has testified in front of Congress, the President’s Commission on Bioethics, and state legislatures.

    Zoloth began her career as a neonatal nurse working in impoverished communities; she holds a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of the State of New York. She received a master’s degree in Jewish studies and a doctorate in social ethics from the Graduate Theological Union. Zoloth also holds a master’s degree in English from San Francisco State University.

    Prior to joining the University of Chicago, Zoloth served as a Charles McCormick Deering Professor of Teaching Excellence at Northwestern University, holding appointments in the Department of Religious Studies in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and in the Feinberg School of Medicine. At Northwestern, she was founding director of the Brady Program in Ethics and Civic Life at the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and founding director of the Center for Bioethics, Science and Society at the Feinberg School of Medicine.

    She currently serves on the Ethics Advisory Board of NASA; the steering committee of The Engineering Biology Research Committee; on the CDC (Biological Agents Working Group); and on the Ethics Board of the American Heart Association.

  • Tae Seok Moon

    He has 24 years of research experience in chemistry, systems biology, and synthetic biology, including 5.5 years of industry experience (as of 2021). His research focus (2012-21; 15 grants; $7.3M external funding to him; $16M to the entire team) is understanding gene regulation, evolution, and metabolism, building sensors and genetic circuits, and engineering microbes to solve global problems, including climate crisis, waste valorization, plastic upcycling, sustainability, and health issues. He has published 52 papers, has filed 9 patents, and has given 51 invited and 118 contributed presentations. He has advised 26 PhD/Postdoctoral and 28 undergrad researchers. He is a Founder and Head of the SAB of Moonshot Bio. Several awards include a B&B Wang Award, an NSF CAREER award, an ONR YIP, a Sluder Fellowship (MIT), and the SNU President Prize. He is the Founding Chair of SynBYSS (Synthetic Biology Young Speaker Series) with more than 1000 global audiences.

    Twitter handle: @Moon_Synth_Bio

    LinkedIn Profile

  • June Medford

  • Nathan Hillson

    Nathan Hillson

    Dr. Hillson earned his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard Medical School. He did his postdoctoral work in Developmental (Micro)Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Hillson's work has spanned the realms of the private (notably as co-founder/Chief Scientific Officer at TeselaGen) and public biotechnology sectors. As Department Head of BioDesign within the Biological Systems & Engineering Division, Dr. Hillson leads scientists and engineers within Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory whose domain expertise spans synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, microbiology, microbial communities, software engineering, and laboratory automation engineering. As overall Principal Investigator of the U.S. DOE Agile Biofoundry, Dr. Hillson leads scientists/engineers across 8 U.S. DOE National Labs towards the development of a public infrastructure that enables the private sector to reduce the cost and accelerate bioprocess commercialization timelines. This infrastructure complements discovery engines (such as the Joint Genome Institute, to which Dr. Hillson also contributes).

  • John Glass

    John Glass

    Dr. John Glass is a Professor and leader of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) Synthetic Biology and Bioenergy Group. His expertise is in molecular biology, microbial pathogenesis, RNA virology, and microbial genomics. Glass is part of the Venter Institute team that created the first bacterial cell with a chemically synthesized genome and a bacterial cell with a synthetic genome encoding only the essential gene set needed for life. In reaching this milestone the Venter Institute scientists developed the fundamental techniques of the new field of synthetic genomics including genome transplantation and genome assembly. Glass was also leader of the JCVI project that rapidly made synthetic influenza virus vaccine strains in collaboration with Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, Inc. and Synthetic Genomics, Inc. At the JCVI he has also led the bacterial outer membrane vesicle based vaccine, genome transplantation, and Mycoplasma genitalium minimal genome projects, and projects studying other mycoplasma and ureaplasma species. Glass and his Venter Institute colleagues are now using synthetic biology and synthetic genomics approaches developed at the JCVI to create cells and organelles with redesigned genomes to make microbes that can produce biofuels, pharmaceuticals, and industrially valuable molecules. Glass is an adjunct faculty member of the University of Maryland at College Park Cellular and Molecular Biology Program, one of the founding members of the Build-A-Cell program to create synthetic cells, and member of the Global Viral Network Scientific Leadership Board.

    Prior to joining the JCVI, Glass spent five years in the Infectious Diseases Research Division of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. There he was a member of the hepatitis C virology group and a microbial genomics group (1998-2003). There Glass was part of the Lilly and Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc. team that developed Incivek, one of the first drugs to cure hepatitis C virus.
    Glass earned his undergraduate (Biology) and graduate degrees (Genetics) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His Ph.D. work was on RNA virus genetics in the laboratory of Gail Wertz. He was on the faculty and did postdoctoral fellowships in the Microbiology Department of the University of Alabama at Birmingham in polio virology with Casey Morrow and mycoplasma pathogenesis with Gail Cassell (1990-1998). On sabbatical leave in Ellson Chen’s lab at Applied Biosystems, Inc. (1995-1997) he sequenced the genome of Ureaplasma parvum and began his study of bacterial genomics.

  • Andrew Ellington

    The Ellington lab works on using synthetic biology to augment organismal chemistry, generating expanded genetic alphabets and genetic codes. In addition, we attempt to developing orthogonal control systems for a variety of organisms that allow us to readily lay in new instruction sets that can operate on top of normal metabolism. Between these innovations, it has proven possible to develop and produce novel biomaterials, with the ultimate goal of being able to direct the evolution of materials properties.

  • 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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