Elliot L. Chaikof
Dr. Elliot L. Chaikof is the Johnson and Johnson Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and serves as Chair and Surgeon-in-Chief of the Department of Surgery at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Dr. Chaikof is a member of the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology at MIT, the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, the Wyss Institute of Biologically-Inspired Engineering of Harvard University, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Dr. Chaikof received his M.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1982 and his PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT in 1989. Dr. Chaikof has promoted alliances of clinicians, engineers, and biologists and in the process developed biologically-inspired molecularly engineered materials and drugs that have enabled advances in cell-based therapies, artificial organs and engineered living tissues, which define the evolving field of Regenerative Medicine. His laboratory has received $40 million in funding from the NIH, with additional funding from the DOD, NSF, American Heart Association, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and the Office of Naval Research.
Cristina E. Davis
Dr. Cristina Davis is currently Professor and Chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering of the University of California, Davis. Her research centers around chemical sensing for biological applications, by both developing novel miniature gas phase chemical sensors as well as defining relevant volatile organic compound (VOC) metabolomics biomarkers of interest in human, animal and plant systems. She completed her undergraduate B.S. degree with a double major in Mathematics and Biology from Duke University in 1994. Her Ph.D. work in Biomedical Engineering was earned at the University of Virginia in 1999. She went on to complete a Postdoctoral Fellowship jointly between both the Electrical Engineering and Physiology departments at the Johns Hopkins University in 2001. She is a 2016 Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), a 2019 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a 2019 Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI). From 2014-2018, she was a Member of the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. In 2008, she was selected for the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative, and 2011 for National Academy of Engineering (NAE), 17th Annual Frontiers of Engineering Education (FOEE) Symposium. In 2014, she was an Invited Speaker at the National Academy of Engineering (NAE) Regional Meeting in Davis, CA. Since 2018, she has been an ad hoc member of the Intelligence Science and Technology Experts Group (ISTEG) which is administered by the Intelligence Community Studies Board (ICSB) of the National Academies.
Sara Y. Del Valle
Dr. Sara Del Valle is a Senior Scientist and Project Leader in the Information Systems & Modeling Group at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), where she has been a staff member since 2006. Her research focuses on exploiting heterogeneous data and combining them with mathematical, computational, and statistical models to understand, model, and forecast infectious diseases and political instability. Her work has led to new insight on how human behavior affects disease transmission, better understanding on the role of mixing patterns on disease spread, the role of social media to inform nowcasting and forecasting, and pioneered modeling approaches to forecast infectious diseases in real-time. As a result of these contributions, she has received several awards such as six distinguished performance awards from LANL, an R&D 100 Award, a DOE Secretary Appreciation Award and her work has been featured in several top media outlets such as National Geographic and NPR Science Friday. She has served in several committees for NIH, NSF, the European Commission, and the National Research Council. Sara earned her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and Computational Sciences from the University of Iowa and a Master’s and Bachelor’s degrees in Applied Mathematics from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Jonathan S. Dordick
Professor Jonathan S. Dordick is an Institute Professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in the Departments of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Biological Sciences. He is also Special Advisor to the President for Strategic Initiatives and Director of the Heparin Applied Research Center, a biomanufacturing center at RPI. He recently served as Vice President for Research at RPI. Dr. Dordick has made foundational contributions to gaining a quantitative understanding of biological principles and applying them to advance biomanufacturing, engineering of the natural and durable synthetic immune system, neurotechnologies, and drug discovery. Prof. Dordick received his B.A. degree in Biochemistry and Chemistry from Brandeis University and his Ph.D. in Biochemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prof. Dordick is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the National Academy of Inventors. He is a Fellow of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineers. A selected list of awards he has received include the Amgen Award in Biochemical and Molecular Engineering; Food, Pharmaceutical and Bioengineering Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers; Marvin J. Johnson Award and Elmer Gaden Award both of the American Chemical Society; and the International Enzyme Engineering Award. He has cofounded several biotechnology companies, and has served on multiple White House-sponsored panels and committees, including the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership 2.0, and a U.S. Council on Competitiveness Working Committee for Innovation Frontiers. He has published over 400 peer-reviewed papers broadly in biotechnology and is an inventor on 50 patents and patent applications.
Dr. Nita A. Farahany is the Robinson O. Everett Distinguished Professor of Law & Philosophy and Founding Director of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society. From 2010-2017, she served as a Commissioner on the U.S. Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues. She is a widely published scholar on the ethical, legal, and social implications of the biosciences and emerging technologies, and a frequent commentator for national media and radio shows, and at major event conferences including the Aspen Ideas Festival, TED, the World Economic Forum, and judicial conferences. Farahany is an elected member of the American Law Institute, an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Frontier Risks, President and Board member of the International Neuroethics Society, serves on scientific and ethics advisory boards, is a member of the Neuroethics Division of the BRAIN Initiative for NIH, an appointed member of the National Advisory Council of NINDS, and the Neuroforum at the National Academies of Science. She is a co-editor-in-chief and a founding editor of the Journal of Law and the Biosciences. Farahany holds an AB (Genetics) from Dartmouth College, an ALM (Biology) from Harvard University, and a JD, MA, and Ph.D. (Philosophy) from Duke University.
Charles D. Gilbert
Dr. Charles D. Gilbert is currently the Arthur and Janet Ross Professor and Head of Laboratory of Neurobiology at the Rockefeller University in New York City. He studies how a series of areas in the visual cortex mediate object recognition and perceptual tasks and the way visual experience shapes the strategy by which the cortex analyzes sensory information, a process called perceptual learning. Dr. Gilbert holds an M.D. from Harvard Medical School and a Ph.D. from Harvard University in neurobiology, completing both in 1977. He has worked on brain machine interfaces, molecular pathways of brain plasticity, training programs for perceptual learning, and is applying his discoveries on brain mechanisms of vision to the study and remediation of perceptual deficits in autism. As an undergraduate Dr. Gilbert studied biophysics at Amherst College, graduating in 1971. He was section chair for NAS Section 28: Neuroscience and is currently the NRC liaison for Section 28.
Professor Amy Herr is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Her bioengineering research laboratory focuses on the design and development of novel analytical methods to answer fundamental questions in biology & medicine. Professor Herr earned her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford as an NSF Graduate Research Fellow (2002) and a B.S. in Engineering and Applied Science at Caltech (1997). Prior to joining UC Berkeley, Prof. Herr was a research scientist at Sandia National Laboratories (2002-2007). Her research has been recognized by an NIH New Innovator Award, NSF CAREER Award, Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, and DARPA Young Faculty Award among others. Presently, she serves on the National Advisory Council for Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering at NIH (2020-23) and for DARPA’s Biotechnology Office (BTO; 2020-23). She has served as a standing member of the NIH Nanotechnology Study Section (2013-2019) and was one of 13 US faculty appointed to the DARPA’s Defense Science Study Group (DSSG; 2018-2019). Professor Herr has chaired all three major scientific meetings in her field, is a successful entrepreneur, and has been recognized for her advising and mentoring.
Dr. Andy Kilianski is currently the Senior Director, Emerging Infectious Diseases at IAVI. At IAVI he leads strategy development, key stakeholder engagement, and current and future execution of IAVI’s emerging infectious disease vaccine and therapeutic portfolios. Prior to IAVI, Dr. Kilianski was a Senior Scientist and Program Manager with the Department of Defense. He has led numerous scientific, analytic, and programmatic efforts related to the military applications of biotechnology and the national security implications of worldwide scientific advances across emerging technologies. Additionally, he has been a key resource for the drafting of multiple National Security Memoranda, DoD Directives and Instructions, and has been at the forefront of emerging technology policy development within the U.S. government. As a result of his collaborative leadership across government and with NGOs and foreign partners, Dr. Kilianski and his teams have received numerous awards from the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of National Intelligence. Dr. Kilianski started his scientific career as a National Academy of Sciences Fellow with the U.S. Army, working as a principal investigator on research programs aimed at characterizing emerging infectious disease threats with next-generation sequencing and other multiomics approaches. Additionally, he is a faculty member at George Mason University in the Schar School of Government where he teaches courses on emerging infectious diseases and the integration of emerging biotechnologies into biodefense and biosurveillance systems. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Loyola University Chicago where he discovered virus-host interactions necessary for coronavirus pathogenesis and leveraged these pathways for vaccine design and antiviral drug development.
Thomas K. Knight, Jr.
Dr. Tom Knight is founder of Ginkgo Bioworks where he works full time today. He spent many years as student, staff, and faculty in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. His work focused on the development of novel computing structures at the technology, architectural, and programming levels. As a computer architect and VLSI designer, he was a founder and technical director at Symbolics Inc. In 1990, he began a serious study of biology focused on creating the engineering discipline of synthetic biology—specifically in developing Biobricks, the first standard assembly technique for functional DNA components, in establishing the MIT Registry of Standard Biological Parts, and in reverse engineering and rebuilding the simple organism Mesoplasma florum. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a director of the iGEM Foundation, and member of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of the Mollicutes.
Markita P. Landry
Dr. Markita Landry is an assistant professor in the department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She received a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Ph.D. in Chemical Physics and a Certificate in Business Administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and completed an NSF postdoctoral fellowship in Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Prof. Landry’s current research centers on the development of synthetic nanoparticle-polymer conjugates for imaging neuromodulation in the brain, and for the delivery of genetic materials into plants. The Landry lab exploits the highly tunable chemical and physical properties of nanomaterials for the creation of bio-mimetic structures, molecular imaging, and plant genome editing. Prof. Landry has presented at the National Academies of Science and National Academies of Engineering Frontiers of Science Symposia, and is also on the scientific advisory board of Terramera and on the scientific advisory board of Chi-Botanic. She is a recent recipient of over 20 early career awards, including awards from the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the DARPA Young Investigator program, the Beckman Young Investigator program, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the NSF CAREER award, the Dreyfus Foundation Teacher-Scholar award, is a Sloan Research Fellow, an FFAR New Innovator, and is a Chan-Zuckerberg Biohub Investigator.
Mary E. Maxon
Dr. Mary Maxon is the Associate Laboratory Director for Biosciences at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. Dr. Maxon oversees Berkeley Laboratory’s Biological Systems and Engineering, Environmental Genomics and Systems Biology, and Molecular Biophysics and Integrated Bioimaging Divisions and the DOE Joint Genome Institute. She earned her B.S. in biology and chemistry from the State University of New York, Albany, her Ph.D. in molecular cell biology from the University of California, Berkeley and completed her postdoctoral studies at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Maxon has worked in the private sector, both in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the public sector, highlighted by her tenure as the Assistant Director for Biological Research at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in the Executive Office of the President.
Amina A. Qutub
Dr. Amina Ann Qutub is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA), and research thrust lead of the Artificial Intelligence MATRIX Consortium. She is also Director of the UTSA – UT Health Joint Graduate Group in Biomedical Engineering. Bridging basic science to translational impact, she directs the Quantu Project, a nationwide study to optimize brain health over a lifespan using an integration of biosensing technology, modeling and functional neurogenesis bioassays. Dr. Qutub also serves as the computational lead for the international Leukemia Protein Atlases, a clinical and engineering collaboration to identify new therapeutic targets for pediatric and adult leukemias. She received her B.S. in chemical engineering at Rice University in 1999, and PhD in Bioengineering from Berkeley and UCSF in 2004 with a major in mathematical modeling and minor in neurology. Dr. Qutub completed her postdoc as a National Institute of Health NRSA fellow in Biomedical Engineering at The Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine. She is an American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering Fellow, National Academies’ Keck Future Initiatives Awardee, and National Science Foundation CAREER Awardee. Dr. Qutub has served as Conference Chair and Co-Organizer for two National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine Arab-America Frontiers Symposia, and participated as an invited speaker or participant at four other Frontiers of Engineering Symposia (Indo-American, China-America, and two additional Arab-America meetings). She was a National Academy of Engineering nominated participant in the Royal Academy of Engineering Global Grand Challenges (London, 2019), and she was nominated this year by the National Academy of Sciences as a participant in the World Laureates Symposium (Shanghai, 2021). She also is leading a project started under the auspices of the National Academy of Engineering COVID-19 Call-for-Engineering Action on studying neurovascular effects of viral infection.
Francisco F. Roberto
Dr. Francisco F. Roberto (NAE) joined Newmont Corporation in May 2012 and held senior and chief metallurgist positions in the Newmont Metallurgical Services Laboratory before moving to his current role of senior manager for processing in the Processing and Metallurgy department. He served as interim laboratory director from January-April 2017. He is the corporate SME for biohydrometallurgy and corporate process SME for tailings and currently responsible for identifying and developing transformational technologies for processing, tailings, and water treatment. Prior to joining Newmont, he directed and executed biotechnology R&D programs at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Laboratory (INL) for 23 years, in areas ranging from bioleaching to biodefense. From 1989-2012, he served as chair of the INL’s Institutional Biosafety Committee, and directed and performed work with bacterial priority pathogens including Brucella in one of the few DOE biocontainment facilities authorized to perform work with Risk Group 3 pathogens under the CDC/APHIS Select Agent Program. Dr. Roberto was a DOE representative for the Federal Experts Security Advisory Panel (FESAP): Optimizing the Security of Biological Select Agents and Toxins in the United States in 2010, member of the DOE Biological Warfare Convention Interlaboratory Working Group (1999-2012) and chair of DOE’s NA-51 Subcommittee on Consequence Assessment and Protective Actions Biological Safety Working Group from 2007-2012. He chaired the AOAC/ SPADA working group for Brucella Standard Method Performance Requirements (SMPR) in 2016. Dr. Roberto received a B.S. in biochemistry and biophysics from the University of California, Davis (1980), and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of California, Riverside (1985). He is also a registered member of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME) and a Specialist Microbiologist in Biological Safety registered through the National Registry of Certified Microbiologists (NRCM). He was also a Certified Biological Safety Professional (CBSP; ABSA International) from 2005-2016.
Jorge L. Santiago Ortiz
Dr. Jorge Santiago-Ortiz currently serves as the Director of Process Development at BioCentriq, the New Jersey Innovation Institute’s Biopharma Division (Newark, NJ), where he oversees upstream and downstream process development for gene and cell therapy clinical products and manages gene therapy research and development projects. He is a chemical engineer with a background in bioprocess engineering, molecular biology, and biochemistry and a focus in gene therapy and process development. Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Jorge completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering with a Biotechnology Certificate in 2010 at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. As an undergraduate student, he conducted research in biochemistry under Dr. Belinda Pastrana-Rios, where he worked on protein expression, purification, and characterization; he also received the Luis C. Monzón medal, awarded to the top student in the chemical engineering graduating class. In 2016, Jorge completed a Ph.D. in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering with a Minor in Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Working in Dr. David Schaffer’s laboratory, his Ph.D. dissertation work focused on the engineering of lentiviral and adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors for gene therapy applications using in vitro and in vivo directed evolution. As a graduate student, Jorge was awarded U.C. Berkeley’s Chancellor’s Fellowship for Graduate Study, the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Research Fellowship, U.C. Berkeley’s Dissertation Year Fellowship, and the Ford Foundation’s Dissertation Fellowship. Following the completion of his Ph.D., Jorge transitioned to an industry role at BioConsortia Inc. (Davis, CA), where he led the fermentation and scale-up of beneficial plant-associated microbes for enhanced crop yields and improved plant health and managed the development of biofungicide products. Jorge is passionate about teaching and his associated experience includes teaching at the New Jersey Innovation Institute’s Introduction to Viral Vector Manufacturing course and his current role as a Spanish instructor for Casa de Español Spanish school (Sacramento, CA); he is also currently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in College and University Teaching at Oregon State University.
Dr. Renee Wegrzyn is a Vice President of Business Development at Ginkgo Bioworks where she is currently focused on applying synthetic biology to outpace infectious disease – including COVID-19 - through biomanufacturing, vaccine, and diagnostic/biosurveillance innovation. Prior to Ginkgo, she was Program Manager in the Biological Technologies Office (BTO) of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), where she leveraged the tools of synthetic biology and gene editing to enhance biosecurity, support the domestic bioeconomy, and thwart biothreats. Her DARPA portfolio included the Living Foundries: 1000 Molecules, Safe Genes, Preemptive Expression of Protective Alleles and Response Elements (PREPARE), and Detect it with Gene Editing (DIGET) programs. While at DARPA, Dr Wegrzyn funded two studies with National Academies of Science, including Gene Drives on the Horizon: Advancing Science, Navigating Uncertainty, and Aligning Research with Public Values, and Human Gene Editing: Science Ethics and Government. Renee currently serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards for the National Academies of Science Board on Army Research and Development, Revive & Restore, Air Force Research Labs, Nuclear Threat Initiative, and the Innovative Genomics Institute. Prior to joining DARPA as a PM, she led teams in private industry in the areas of biosecurity, gene therapies, emerging infectious disease, neuromodulation, synthetic biology, and diagnostics. Renee holds a PhD and BS in Applied Biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, was a Fellow in the Center for Health Security Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative (ELBI), and completed her postdoctoral training as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in Heidelberg, Germany.