About

Hello! I’m a scientist working in the emerging field of synthetic biology. Synthetic biology aims at harnessing biology to tackle global issues in energy, health, materials, and the environment. Synbio stands apart from its parent fields, such as “genetic engineering”, through its use of next-generation technologies, such as the ability to read and write DNA at scale with high fidelty. My research specifically leverages these omics technologies and biophysical modeling to predict how biological systems behave, as encoded by their DNA. These sequence-function models are a key step towards synbio becoming a mature engineering discipline, and are already making engineering biology easier!

I recently received my PhD in Chemical Engineering under Dr. Howard Salis at Penn State University. My dissertation covered a variety of research topics including modeling of translation initiation rate, design of nonrepetitive genetic systems, and construction of the largest ever multiplex CRISPR interference programs in E. coli. I am currently developing a more accurate version of RBS Calculator informed by a massively parallel reporter assay of thousands of UTR variants. I’m actively searching for my next post in research areas related to skills or knowledge gained during my PhD.

I’m a Texas native. I grew up in Austin and graduated from Rice University with a BS in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. During my time in Houston, I worked summers and part-time at a small metabolic engineering startup company, Glycos Biotechnologies Inc., that was engineering E. coli to convert waste biomass into isoprene (the monomer precursor to polyisoprene, a synthetic rubber). My hobbies include rowing, fishing, and gaming of all kinds. Fun fact about me - I am a server admin and community member of the AWS-hosted MidWorld Minecraft community, a small, international community of content creators that play together and create fun Twitch/YouTube/Instgram content!

Please read more about my projects , papers , and musings on synbio news and research at my blog . Feel free to get in touch with me via email or social media, and please follow CDC/NIH/WHO guidelines for preventing the spread of COVID-19 during what are hopefully the final months of this pandemic.

Alex