Staff

  • Cynthia Ni

    Cynthia is a fan of microbes and their potential to help humans live sustainably. She completed a PhD in Chemical Engineering at MIT in 2022, in which she genetically engineered E. coli to utilize mixed feed streams for biosynthesis – a project motivated by the desire to convert food waste into useful products. Outside of research, she participated in departmental DEI initiatives and peer counseling, and was dedicated to improving the graduate student experience across the institute. In her free time, she enjoys playing ultimate frisbee, being in nature, and consuming delicious foods and beverages. Cynthia is excited to work in the Policy & International Engagement focus area and continue to explore the use of waste in the bioeconomy.

  • 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.

  • Kaitlyn Duvall

    Kaitlyn Duvall is currently a Research Assistant at EBRC, providing support on a variety of projects. Prior to her position at EBRC, she held concurrent positions at the City of Reno and the University of Nevada, Reno. Kaitlyn received a B.S. in Environmental Science from the University of Nevada, Reno.

  • 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.

  • Diane Pierotti

    Diane Pierotti

  • Angela Lee

    Angela Lee

    Angela is currently the Administrator at EBRC, managing event planning, administration, and program support. Prior to her role at EBRC, Angela was an Administrator at an international auction house specializing in antiques. A native of the bay area, she received her bachelors in International Relations from the University of California Davis and Masters of Business Administration at Golden Gate University.

  • 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.

  • Emily Aurand

    Emily Aurand

    Emily Aurand is the Director of Roadmapping and Education at EBRC. Emily serves as the executive editor of EBRC’s technical research roadmaps, and has led the production and release of five EBRC technical roadmaps to-date, all of which are available through https://roadmap.ebrc.org. Emily also serves as the EBRC Industry Internship Program director and leads the EBRsee outreach and education project, spearheading the recent collaboration with the Tumble Science Podcast for Kids to create “Life Lab” a five episode podcast series about engineering biology for school-aged kids and their families. Emily supervises and mentors the EBRC science policy postdocs and research assistant and supports the Student & Postdoc Association. Emily also leads and contributes to EBRC science policy communications, contributes and reports on funding and grant support, and oversees and manages the EBRC websites.

    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.

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

    Emily is a United States Figure Skating Double Gold Medalist and the proud Auntie to adorable baby Jack. In her free time, she likes to relax by practicing yoga, dancing in her kitchen while she cooks, and snuggling with her elderly cats, who make frequent appearances in EBRC virtual events. When she’s not traveling to convene with EBRC members and stakeholders, Emily lives and works in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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