Confirmed

Speakers

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Dr. Talkmore Maruta PhD
Senior Biosafety and Biosecurity Officer with Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC).

Dr Maruta is a Public Health Medical Laboratory Scientist with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Medical Laboratory Sciences, Masters in Public Health (MPH), Masters Business Administration (MBA) and PhD in Public Health and currently studying for a Masters in International Affairs and Diplomacy.  He has regional and international experience in laboratory system strengthening, disease surveillance and epidemic preparedness and response. He contributed significantly in the development and implementation of two flagship programs of Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) and WHO/AFRO Strengthening Laboratory Quality Management Towards Accreditation (SLIPTA) programs that have been implemented in over 1300 laboratories in 55 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the Oceania and  helped over 200 laboratories attain accreditation to international standards. His experience spans the Africa, Caribbean and South East Asia Regions where he has closely worked with over 30 Ministries of Health while working with renowned organizations like Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), African Society for Laboratory Medicine (ASLM) and the East Central and Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC).

His work in the region was recognized at the ASLM 2012 Conference with a Distinguished Leadership” award and the “Best Employee” award in the World Bank supported Southern Africa TB Health Systems Strengthening (SATBHSS) project in 2019. At Africa Centres for Disease Control, Dr Maruta coordinates the Africa CDC Regional Biosafety and Biosecurity Initiative whose goal is to strengthen the biosecurity and biosafety systems of African Union Member States to comply with international regulations including the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005), Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), and United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1540 and the GHSA action packages (APP3).

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Dr. Benson Kinyagia
Senior Science Secretary at The National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Benson Kinyagia is a Senior Science Secretary at The National Commission for Science Technology and Innovation based in Nairobi, Kenya.

He holds a BEd. Majoring in Biological Sciences, an MSc in Botany (Plant Pathology) and PhD in Pesticide Science (Safety). He has been working as a Policy Scientist in Kenya for over 16 years and have been involved in regional and international meetings especially CBD and its protocols. He served in the CBD AHTEG on Synthetic Biology, currently spearheading the establishment of Synthetic Biology Capacity in Kenya Universities and Research Institution to support the Country's Bioeconomy development through research, products development and favorable policy environment. He is a member of the Environmental Institute of Kenya (EIK). He is interested in emerging Technologies adoption for Social Economic development in a safe secure environment.

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Prof. Chris Voigt
Daniel IC Wang Professor of Advanced Biotechnology, Biological Engineering Department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Co-Director of the Synthetic Biology Center.

Christopher Voigt, PhD is the Daniel I.C. Wang Professor of Advanced Biotechnology in the Biological Engineering Department at MIT and is Co-Director of the Synthetic Biology Center. He is the Editor-in-Chief of ACS Synthetic Biology. He holds joint appointments at the Broad Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST), University of California – San Francisco (UCSF), and Imperial College. He received his BSE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan (1998) and PhD in Biophysics from Caltech (2002). He is a founder of Pivot Bio (microbial agricultural products) and Asimov (human cell synthetic biology). He has served on the science advisory boards of DSM, Bolt Threads, SynLogic, Amyris Biotechnologies, Zymergen, Design Therapeutics, Empress Bio, Aanika, General probiotics, Deepbiome Therapautics, Senti Bio, Axcella, and Twist Bioscience. He is a partner at DCVC Bio, Bio-innovation, and Petri. He has been honored with a National Security Science & Engineering Faculty Fellowship (NSSEFF), Bush Fellows Research Study Team (BFRST), Sloan Fellow, Pew Fellow, Packard Fellow, NSF Career Award, Vaughan Lecturer, MIT TR35, and SynBiobeta Entrepreneurial Leadership Award.  

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Dr. Megan J Palmer,
Executive Director of Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives at Stanford University.

Dr. Megan J. Palmer is the Executive Director of Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives at Stanford University. In this role, Dr. Palmer leads integrated research, teaching and engagement programs to explore how biological science and engineering is shaping our societies, and to guide innovation to serve public interests. Based in the Department of Bioengineering, where she is also an Adjunct Professor, she works closely both with groups across the university and with stakeholders in academia, government, industry and civil society around the world.

In addition to fostering broader efforts, Dr. Palmer leads a focus area in biosecurity in partnership with the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford.

Projects in this area examine how security is conceived and managed as biotechnology becomes increasingly accessible. Her current projects include assessing strategies for governing dual use research, analyzing the diffusion of safety and security norms and practices, and understanding the security implications of alternative technology design decisions.

Dr. Palmer has created and led many programs aimed at developing and promoting best practices and policies for the responsible development of bioengineering. She is serving as co-chair of the World Economic Forum Global Futures Council on Synthetic Biology. For the last ten years she has led programs in safety, security and social responsibility for the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition, which in 2019 involved over 6000 students in 353 teams from 48 countries; she now serves as a special advisor to iGEM. Dr. Palmer also founded and serves as Executive Director of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program (LEAP), an international fellowship program in biotechnology leadership. She advises and works with many other organizations on their strategies for the responsible development of bioengineering, including serving on the board of directors of Revive & Restore, a nonprofit organization advancing biotechnologies for conservation.

Previously, Megan was a Senior Research Scholar and William J. Perry Fellow in International Security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC), part of FSI, where she is now an affiliated researcher. She also spent five years as Deputy Director of Policy and Practices for the multi-university NSF Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (Synberc). She has previously held positions as a project scientist at the California Center for Quantitative Bioscience at the University of California Berkeley (where she was an affiliate of Lawrence Berkeley National Labs), and a postdoctoral scholar in the Bioengineering Department at Stanford University. Dr. Palmer received her Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from M.I.T. and a B.Sc.E. in Engineering Chemistry from Queen’s University, Canada.

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Prof. Matthew Chang, PhD
Director of the Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology and NUS Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation.

Matthew Chang is Director of the Singapore Consortium for Synthetic Biology, Wilmar-NUS Corporate Laboratory and NUS Synthetic Biology for Clinical and Technological Innovation, and Associate Professor in Biochemistry and Synthetic Biology in the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine at the National University of Singapore.

His research focuses on studying the engineering of biology to develop autonomous, programmable cells for grand challenge applications, supported by local and international organizations, and industry. In particular, he has significantly contributed to the development of microbial cells programmed to perform targeted biological functionalities, with over 100 publications and patents.

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Adj. Prof. Colin Scott
Acting Director of the Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform at CSIRO.

Colin was awarded his PhD in Molecular Microbiology in 2000 from the University of Sheffield, UK, where he worked on transcriptional regulation and physiological adaptation in bacteria. He moved to Australia and joined CSIRO to develop enzymes that degrade and detoxify pesticides, and to study how they evolve. This work segued into developing enzymes and complex biobased devices for biocatalysis. He now leads the Biocatalysis & Synthetic Biology Team at CSIRO, the Foundation Technologies Application Domain in the CSIRO Synthetic Biology Future Science Platform and holds an Adjunct Professorship with Queensland University of Technology.

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James Diggans, PhD
Distinguished Scientist, Bioinformatics and Biosecurity at Twist Bioscience.

James Diggans leads the biosecurity program at Twist Bioscience, a DNA synthesis company based in the United States. He holds a PhD from George Mason University in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and has worked in target discovery, molecular diagnostic development and biodefense.

His research has included methods for adaptive 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, he leads development and operation of Twist’s biosecurity screening system and trade compliance programs to power safe, secure silicon-based DNA synthesis at record scale.

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Andrew Hessel
President of Humane Genomics

Andrew Hessel is the president of Humane Genomics, an early-stage company developing synthetic viruses for animal and human health. He is also the co-founder and chairman of the Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology and the Genome Project-write, the international scientific effort to engineer large genomes, including the human genome.

He is a former distinguished research scientist at Autodesk Life Sciences. His goal is to help people better understand and use living systems to meet the needs of humanity.

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Anne Meyer, PhD
Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester, USA

Dr. Anne S. Meyer is an Associate Professor of Biology at the University of Rochester, USA. Dr. Meyer received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Stanford University (USA) in 2005. She was a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA).

Dr. Meyer served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bionanoscience at TU Delft in The Netherlands, prior to moving her research group to the University of Rochester in September 2018. She has served as the lead advisor for seven iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Organisms) teams, which have won numerous awards including the 2015 Grand Prize.

Her research focuses on using quantitative techniques in the fields of biochemistry, microbiology, and biophysics to study structural dynamics, macromolecular interactions, and physiological responses of organisms to environmental stressors. She also uses tools of synthetic biology to engineer novel functions into microorganisms, with a particular focus on the production of improved, tunable biomaterials and the development of new tools for 3D patterning of bacteria.

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Bhavna Pandya
Head of Bioriidl-India

Bhavna Pandya is the Head of Bioriidl- India's first DIY Bio lab and Biotech Business Incubator based in Mumbai, Innovation catalyst at riidl and Chief Organizer of Darwin conference. She is one of the successful community leaders who are paving a path for biologists who seek lab facilities, guidance, and opportunities to create their own projects and startups.

She has raised about half a million-dollar funding for her lab from BIRAC, Government of India. She is leading 5 research groups currently which are based on 5 thrust areas, viz Honey, Silk, Microfluidics, Biomaterials and Drug Discovery and mentoring 28 startups in Food, Agriculture, Healthcare, Industrial Biotechnology and Synthetic biology. She has 1 patent published on her name and some are on the way. Also, she has successfully graduated Bio Academy course from Fab foundation run by Center for atoms and bit, MIT Media lab and is the Bio Academy Local Instructor in India. 

She has initiated various projects in Biomaterial science and has also practiced the research with designers through one of her Initiative called "Bio-fashion show" which has helped fashion designers to adapt biomaterials in the form of clothing and accessories.

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Carolyn Angleton
Bioartist and Biotechnology Researcher, SacBioArts

Carolyn Angleton is a bioartist and biotechnology researcher. She has taught art and critical theory at California State University, Fresno and Sierra College in Rocklin, CA. She is a co-founder of ARC-BAC, an art and synthetic biology collaborative at the American River College in Sacramento, California, and director of SacBioArts. She holds an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and BFA from Colorado State University in Fine Arts. She is on the MIT Global BioSummit organizing committee and is part of the Community Biofellows program.

Her sculptural and biological artwork has been exhibited as part of the FEMGardens at Ars Electronica 2020; the Japan Media Arts Festival 2018, Tokyo; the Verbenke Foundation, Stenkene, Belgium, the Largo da Academia National de Bellas Artes, Lisbon Portugal; the School of Visual Arts, NYC, and the National Museum for Women & the Arts in Washington, D.C. Her work has been shown throughout California at: The Center for the Arts, Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco; the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento; the Fresno Art Museum; the Oceanside Museum of Art; and the UCDavis Art Galleries. She was awarded a research grant from Biohack the Planet Conference as part of ARC/BAC’s work on “Rendering a Synthetic Carotenoid Pathway.” carolynangleton.com

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Dr. Jenny Molloy
Senior Research Associate, University of Cambridge

Dr. Jenny Molloy is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, University of Cambridge, developing open-source tools for a sustainable and equitable bioeconomy. Since graduating from the University of Oxford in 2015 with a DPhil in Zoology focused on genetic control of dengue mosquitoes, Jenny has co-founded four social enterprises making open-source tools more accessible to researchers and building communities to support their use.

As Executive Director of Beneficial Bio, a UK-based nonprofit, Jenny leads a team spread across four continents with hubs in Cameroon and Ghana to produce affordable reagents that accelerate biological research and maximize the impact of biotechnology for the benefit of global health and our environment. 

Jenny is currently Chair of the Local Production and Diagnostics Working Group which spun out from the UN Technology Access Partnership and is also the 2020-21 Fellow of the World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Synthetic Biology.  

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Dr. Deepak Balaji Thimiri Govindaraj
Centre Manager of CSIR Synthetic Biology Centre, South Africa

Dr. Deepak Balaji Thimiri Govindaraj is a Centre Manager of CSIR Synthetic Biology Centre. Deepak Balaji is a chemical engineer by training and has worked on nanobiotechnology, industrial synthetic biology and drug screening for precision medicine. During his PhD in KU Leuven Belgium, Deepak worked on Nanobiotechnology methods for cell surface proteomics.

The work resulted in a Patent. Deepak then went to EMBL for a Marie Curie Fellow where he designed synthetic baculovirus genome for recombinant protein expression. The work is patent and sold in the market as a product by Geneva Biotech, Switzerland. As a Senior Scientist at Oslo University hospital Norway, Deepak established the drug sensitivity screening platform for blood cancer.

As a Centre Manager at CSIR Pretoria, ICGEB Early Career Grants and Marie Curie Global Fellowship to establish Synthetic Biology and Precision Medicine programs respectively recently funded Deepak. Deepak has published 32 research papers, 2 granted patents, 25 conference proceedings and book chapters. Deepak has published in high impact journal such as Molecular Systems Biology, Blood and Leukemia.

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Luis Carrera Ochoa
High-Containment Lab / Pandemic Safety Manager for the Environmental Health and Safety Department at Michigan State University

 Mr. Ochoa currently serves as the High-Containment Lab / Pandemic Safety Manager for the Environmental Health and Safety Department at Michigan State University.

From October 2019 to June 2021, he worked as the Director of the Epidemiological Surveillance and Research Laboratory Network of the Mexican Institute for Social Security (IMSS) from the Ministry of Health in Mexico.

From March 2013 to October 2019, he served as BSL-3 Lab Coordinator at the National Reference Laboratory in Mexico. Prior to his current position, he received a Master´s Degree in Public Health Management focused on Biological Risk Management. He has been an ABSA member since 2014 and serves as Chair of the Publications Committee, member of the International Engagement Committee, and international editor for Applied Biosafety Journal.

As one of the eighteen founding members and past President of the AMEXBIO, he has strengthened the network between biosafety professionals in the region and helped to create strategic alliances with international and national institutions. Additionally, Mr. Ochoa has served as a mentor of the International Twinning Project from Sandia National Laboratories and the Next Generation Global Health Security Network as the Biosafety-Biosecurity Working Group Coordinator. In addition, Mr. Ochoa serves as Senior Advisor for PandemicTech, a virtual incubator that enables innovative approaches to confronting infectious disease threats and is a Certified Biosafety Professional from IFBA for Containment Labs and Biological Risk Management.

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Doris Bota
International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA) Certified Professional-Biorisk Management and Biosecurity

Hand Hygiene for All Regional Coordinator, UNICEF Switzerland.
International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA)Certified Professional-Biorisk Management and Biosecurity. Project Management for Development Certified Professional (PMD Pro)- APMG International

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Alex Olengo
Founder & CEO- The Molecular Group

Molecular Biology (Msc.) l MBA Candidate (Big data Analytics) l AFRIKA KOMMT Alumnus l Business Development Consultant (STIHL- Uganda) l Founder & CEO- The Molecular Group.

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Stephen Mukuze
Co-founder and CEO of Umkele Inc, Zimbabwe

Stephen Mukuze is the co-founder and CEO of Umkele Inc, an award-winning synthetic biology start-up that won first place in the iGEM EPIC hackathon in March 2021, the iGEM EPIC VCL competition in May 2021, and the Greentech Festival bootcamp in July 2021.

He was selected to be an iGEM fellow in April 2021 to promote synthetic biology at the first ever virtual IUCN Global Youth Summit. Stephen is also a Synbio Africa Ambassador representing the Southern African region and currently resides in Zimbabwe.

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Muhammad Qasim PhD
Lecturer, University of Otago New Zealand

I am from Pakistan, completed my PhD in NanoBioengineering from Chung Ang University Seoul South Korea in 2015 & Master in Dual Use Education from Bradford UK 2012. Currently I am working as Lecturer at University of Otago New Zealand. I had established Biotech company in Pakistan Ayyan Molecuar Products and leading it as Director Research and Development.

I have also engagements as  Young Leader Asia Pacific Forum, UNODA BWC Young Scientist Group,  CTBTO Youth, President of Broader Middle East and North Africa Association of Young scientists, UNGMY and UNESCO,  where I explore the role of science as a universal language to help break down barriers and build bridges between peoples and nations to solve complex international issues like Nuclear Non Proliferation and Disarmament, Bio-safety, Bio-security, Dual Use, Responsible Conduct of Science, One Health, Climate change, World Peace and Security.

Previously I served at Konkuk University, Korea University, Gachon University and Ajou University South Korea as faculty member. I also worked with Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, National AIDS Control Program (UNFA), National TB Control Program (NTP) and organised many research and scientific activities in collaboration with TWAS, BEP USA, LNCV Italy, ICLS, CSTSP AAAS. I am also member of UN major group for Youth and Children.

I am awarded with Asia Young Scientists Scholarship for PhD and various travel grants to attend scientific and high level policy meetings across 40 countries in world including Biosafety and biosecurity international forum (BBIC) Jordan 2011, World Science Forum 2017, MISK global forum, CTBTO Science Diplomacy Symposium 2018 and CTBTO Science and Technology Conference 2017, Asia Pacific Forum Security Councils meetings in Malaysia, South Korea and Indonesia (2015-2019) and UNODA Biological weapons Conventions (BWC) meeting of Science Experts (MX2) Geneva Switzerland, TWAS-ASM Science Diplomacy 2021 Malaysia, UN75, Albachaforum 2021. I have completed certificates in Science Policy from UC Irvine USA.  I am author of three book chapters and 32 International journals articles with impact of 120 and citation of above 900. My writing has appeared in CTBTO Newsroom, PACT news of pacific forum, English and Urdu language media

Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Muhmmad_Qasim

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Javin Oza
Assistant Professor, California Polytechnic State University

B.S., University of California, Santa Barbara
Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern University

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Harry Akligoh
Co-founder and scientific director, Hive Biolab, Ghana.

Harry is an early-career researcher and a trained biomedical scientist with degrees in B.Sc. Medical Laboratory Science and MPhil. Molecular Medicine from University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) respectively. He co-founded the Hive Biolab together with a team of researchers in the Open Bioeconomy Lab group at the University of Cambridge and Ghana to conduct research and create educational capacity for Ghanaian university students and researchers.

Harry’s current research focus is on developing a multiplex PCR diagnostic assay for detecting four selected sexually transmitted infections in a single tube reaction using locally produced off-patent enzymes. His other experiences cut across Open Science and Open-Source Hardware for biology, entrepreneurship and innovation. Harry through his work is growing and catalyzing the use of biotechnology and other emerging technologies like synthetic biology to scale social change in Ghana and beyond.

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Stephen Obol Opiyo PhD
Research Scientist at The Ohio State University, USA

Stephen Obol Opiyo is a Research Scientist at The Ohio State University, USA; an Affiliated Scientist at Biosciences eastern and central Africa-ILRI, Nairobi, Kenya; a Data Scientist and a co-founder of Patira Data Science, Westerville, Ohio, USA;  a visiting Scientist at The University of Sacred Heart, Gulu, Uganda; a consultant for Nwoya District, Uganda in reducing gender based violence using real time data; a Core Team Member of SynBio Africa, Kampala, Uganda; and a Co-Founder of Umkele an African synthetic biology Innovation start up.

He obtained his PhD in Bioinformatics, and MS from The University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, and a Post-Doctoral training at the same University where he developed interests in Data Science and Big Data.  His area of synthetic biology is the application of artificial intelligence and computational modeling in building predictive models of the complex genetic networks that determine function of living cells. He lectures and gives workshops in statistics, bioinformatics, metabolomics, proteomics, genomics, metagenomics, and data science. Dr. Opiyo has many years of experience in data mining, analytics, big data, and crowdsourcing analysis.

He uses robust statistical, mathematical, and machine learning, artificial intelligence methods to assess, understand, and analyze data to discover knowledge from structured and unstructed data. In the last five years, he has been supervising, collaborating, and training students, fellows, post docs, researchers, and scientists from eastern, central, and southern Africa.

In addition, he works as a consultant in private sectors both in developed and developing countries discovering knowledge from data and developing a web-based user-friendly tools to solve problems using machine learning algorithms. He leads a team of data scientists, developers, geospatial analysts, and data analysts working in both developed and developing countries to develop predictive analytics tools using machine learning algorithms.

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Yuval Dorfan PhD
Israeli SynBio Institute (ISI) founding director.

Yuval is Israeli SynBio Institute (ISI) founding director, Innovation Center, IDC, Herzliya, Israel.

Leading integrative applied research in IDC, writing grants and papers with industry and academia, and holistic research to enable new companies.  

Google scholar profile: https://scholar.google.co.il/citations?user=ai3TZyoAAAAJ&hl=en

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Sandra Matinyi
Chairperson Executive committee, SynBio Africa

Sandra Matinyi is an Immunology and Microbiology scientist and a Project Planning and Management professional. She is very passionate about synthetic Biology and Biosecurity and related innovations. Sandra currently works as the Chairperson, Executive committee of SynBio Africa. She has directed working teams at Synbio Africa on various projects including; ‘The biosensor development project’ for the Biomaker Challenge, a University of Cambridge initiative in October 2018, ‘The phage project’, an ongoing project aimed at utilization of bacteriophages to develop therapeutic agents etc.

Sandra also works as a Quality Assurance Specialist with AGHPF, where she is in charge of the Biorisk Management component of the projects. She is an International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA) certified professional - Biosafety and Biosecurity and a certified National Biosafety and Biosecurity trainer for Uganda where she has conducted numerous trainings on Biosafety and Biosecurity for various groups of people.

At AGHPF, she offers technical assistance in the establishment of policy related to Biosafety and Biosecurity in Uganda through the Ministry of Health. She has participated in various stakeholders engagements; both international and local, aimed at the establishment of legal frameworks for Biosafety and Biosecurity for use across African Union member states, a project championed by The Africa CDC.

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Dr. Venkata Vamsi B Yallapragada, PhD
Postdoctoral researcher, Munster Technological University, Cork Ireland

Dr. Venkata Vamsi B Yallapragada, is an interdisciplinary researcher with an academic background in synthetic biology, biophotonics and hardware for biomedical applications. He has special interests in bridging the gap between technology and life sciences.

He received his Ph.D. from University College Cork. He has working expertise in computationally designing and modeling proteins with special optical imaging properties for targeted therapeutic and diagnostic applications. He has also vast experience in working with teams specializing in artificial intelligence (AI), Machine learning, virtual reality (VR), photonics and hardware. He enjoys exploring ideas focusing on technology deployment into life science applications.

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Mayra Ameneiros, MSc

Ms. Ameneiros has a BS in Biochemistry, from the University of Buenos Aires and an MSc in Blood Banks from the Argentinian Association of Hemotherapy. She is currently pursuing a Regional Postgraduate Degree in International Security, Disarmament and Non-proliferation of WMD from NPS Global. She has both certifications, in Biorisk Management and in Biosecurity from The International Federation of Biosafety Associations (IFBA).

Ms. Ameneiros has also served as a Mentor of the IFBA Global Mentorship Program 2020/2021. She has collectively gained over a decade of experience in different biochemistry areas and doing scientific research. Ms. Ameneiros is working as an Innovation Fellow at PandemicTech, where she works in different biosafety and biosecurity projects internationally.

She holds several positions such as being a member of different national and international organizations: the Biosafety and the Biorisk Management Committee at the Argentine Normalization and Certification Institute (IRAM), the Biosafety and Biosecurity Subcommittee at the Argentinean Association of Microbiology (AAM), the APP3 group from the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), The International Working Group on Strengthening the Culture of Biosafety & Biosecurity, and the Safety and Security Committee at iGEM. During 2021, she was elect as Argentina Coordinator and as a Member of the Mentorship Council for the Next Generation Global Health Security Network.

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SUSAN N. CROPP, PhD

Susan Cropp began her 18-year career with the Federal Bureau of Investigation at the FBI Laboratory, first as a forensic mtDNA examiner and later, as a supervisor for the DNA Analysis group for the FBI’s Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center.  Dr. Cropp is currently serving as a Management and Program Analyst with the Chemical Biological Countermeasures Unit in the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate of the FBI, participating in outreach and countermeasure initiatives to prevent the production, acquisition and misuse of biological agents.  Dr. Cropp earned a Doctoral degree in Evolution and Population Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Michael Fichardt
Co-founder and Managing Partner, OneBio Venture studio, South Africa

Michael is Co-founder and Managing Partner of OneBio Venture Studio, an African-focused biotech investor and company builder. It was whilst attending Singularity University's Global Solutions Programme that Michael had the realization that the global economy was about to be fundamentally transformed through the use of biology as a technology.

It was at this time that he and fellow Co-founder, Dr. Nick Walker set up OneBio, to help African companies be a part of this future. Michael's background is in finance and banking where he has worked in investment banking, development finance, private equity and venture capital. He holds an MBA from IE Business School, a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Cape Town, a Post Graduate Diploma in Sustainability from Stellenbosch University and a Diploma in Exponential Technologies from Singularity University.    

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Karmella A. Haynes, PhD
Assistant Professor, Emory University

Karmella Haynes is an Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Emory University. She earned her Ph.D. studying epigenetics and chromatin in Drosophila at Washington University, St. Louis. Postdoctoral fellowships at Davidson College and Harvard Medical School introduced her to synthetic biology.

Her Davidson HHMI postdoc fellowship project on bacterial computers was recognized as “Publication of the Year” in 2008 by the Journal of Biological Engineering. Today, her research aims to apply the intrinsic properties of chromatin, the DNA-protein structure that packages eukaryotic genes, to engineer proteins and nucleic acids that control cell development. After Dr. Haynes joined the faculty at the Emory School of Medicine in 2019, she received an NIH R21 grant (2019) to develop new protein engineering and computational tools for cancer epigenetics and launched the annual NSF-funded AfroBiotech conference.

She is a founder and instructor of the Cold Spring Harbor Summer Course on Synthetic Biology, a member of the national Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC), and Advisor and Judge Emeritus for the annual International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition. She has been a featured guest on PBS NOVA (2020) and PRI’s Science Friday (2016), and her work has been profiled in Forbes magazine (2020).

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Gameli Adzaho
Africa Regional Program Manager, Just One Giant Lab

Gameli Adzaho is an Environment and Human Health specialist and STEAM Educator fascinated by 'community science' as a tool to tackle environmental health challenges. He is the Africa Regional Program Manager at Just One Giant Lab, a digital open laboratory dedicated to solving humanity's most urgent problems, through interdisciplinary collaborations between experts and enthusiasts from around the world.

From October 2019 to July 2020, he was a Fellow of the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society (German Internet Institute) and a Visiting Researcher at Universität der Künste, Berlin (Design Research Lab/Berlin Open Lab). Earlier in his career, he implemented public health projects, taught science at the high school level, and trained in tech entrepreneurship, among other experiences. Gameli curates Global Lab Network, a community of STEAM students and professionals interested in applying science and technology for social impact.

He is a Steering Committee Member of Africa Open Science & Hardware, making open science and technology ubiquitous in Africa. Gameli champions STEAM education, from the grassroots to international networks. Key recognitions for this work include Falling Walls Engage Finalist (2020), Shuttleworth Foundation Flashgrant (2019), 2017 UK Alumni Awards (Social Impact, Ghana) and Next Einstein Forum Ambassador, Ghana (2015-2017).

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Dr. Chinna Devarapu PhD
Research Fellow, Munster Technological University (MTU)

He studied M.Sc. Physics from Banaras Hindu University and M. Tech in Applied Optics from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi. As part of his master’s thesis, he built a confocal microscope for direct laser lithography set-up at Technical University Berlin, Germany. Later, he moved on to pursue Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Exeter in the UK. During my Ph.D., he investigated SiC photonic crystals and metamaterials to achieve near-perfect absorption in the infrared regime.

Soon after his Ph.D., he joined as a research fellow in the Nanophotonics group at the University of St Andrews, UK. He is currently working as a Research Fellow at the CAPPA research group at Munster Technological University (MTU). He supervises students, works on national and international projects, and collaborates with industrial partners and world-leading universities such as Stanford and Cambridge. His research interests include silicon photonics, photonic crystals, synthetic biology, and biomedical devices.

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Ryan Morhard
Director, Policy and Partnerships, Ginkgo Bioworks.

Ryan Morhard is Director for Policy and Partnerships at Ginkgo Bioworks. Ginkgo is building a platform to enable customers to program cells as easily as we can program computers, and Ryan pursues opportunities to apply the company’s platform to advance key global agendas, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, fighting climate change, and improving global health security. 

Before joining Ginkgo Bioworks, Ryan led the World Economic Forum’s work on global health security and biological risks. Prior to that, Ryan served as Branch Chief for International Partnerships in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, Ryan led engagement in several multilateral, regional, and bilateral partnerships to support the domestic and international response to Ebola, Zika, and other public health emergencies, as well as to strengthen collective preparedness. Before that, Ryan was a Legal Analyst and Associate at the Center for Health Security.

Ryan received his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis and studied Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Center Affiliate at the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University.

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Dr. Jaime Yassif
Senior Fellow for Global Biological Policy and Programs, Nuclear Threat Initiative.

Dr. Jaime Yassif is a Senior Fellow for Global Biological Policy and Programs at NTI. She is currently leading several major biosecurity projects, with a particular focus on strengthening bioscience governance and reducing global catastrophic biological risks. Dr. Yassif previously served as a program officer at the Open Philanthropy Project, where she led the Biosecurity and Pandemic Preparedness initiative. In this role, she recommended and managed approximately $40 million in biosecurity grants, which rebuilt the field and supported work in several key areas, including: developing new biosecurity programming at several leading think tanks; establishing the Global Health Security Index; initiating new biosecurity work in China and India; and framing a new public discourse about global catastrophic biological risks.

Prior to this, Yassif was a Science and Technology Policy Advisor at the U.S. Department of Defense, where she focused on oversight of the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and East Asia security issues. During this period, she also worked on the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) at the Department of Health and Human Services, where she helped lay the groundwork for the WHO Joint External Evaluations and the GHSA Steering Group.

She holds a Biophysics Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, an MA in Science and Security from the King’s College London War Studies Department, and a BA in Biology from Swarthmore College.  

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Tae Seok Moon
Associate Professor, Washington University in St. Louis.

Tae Seok Moon has 24 years of research experience in chemistry, metabolic engineering, systems biology, and synthetic biology, including 5.5 years of industry experience. During his career in the biotechnology industry, his chemical derivatization technology led to the synthesis of novel biopolymers and four patent applications. As a multi-team project manager, he coordinated pre-clinical studies and helped launch four products, including biopolymers for osteoarthritis treatment and ophthalmic surgery, injectable fillers for wrinkle correction, and biodegradable materials for drug delivery. For commercialization, he also participated in bioprocess scale-up, construction and operation of commercial-scale bioreactors and downstream facilities, and submission of a Drug Master File to the US FDA. During his academic training at MIT and UCSF (Kris Prather and Chris Voigt labs), he has built expertise in metabolic engineering and synthetic biology.

His research focus (2012-present with 15 external grants; $7.3M external funding to Moon; $16M to the entire teams) is understanding gene regulation, evolution, and metabolism and building RNA regulators, biosensors, and genetic circuits. His current projects include engineering probiotics for controlling neurotransmitters (ONR Young Investigator Award) or modulating the gut (NIH RO1) or skin (ONR) microbiome; investigating changes in the regulatory network of engineered Rhodococcus through multi-omics for waste valorization (DOE); establishing a generalizable model for predictable RNA regulator design and building complex RNA-based genetic circuits (2 NSF grants); developing kill-switches for biocontainment of genetically engineered microbes (USDA and EPA); plastic upcycling (DOE).

He has published 52 peer-reviewed papers, has filed 9 patents, has given 49 invited and 118 contributed presentations. He has advised 26 permanent PhD/Postdoctoral and 28 undergrad researchers. He is a Founder and Head of the Scientific Advisory Board of Moonshot Bio. Several awards include a B&B Daniel I.C. Wang Award, an NSF CAREER award, an ONR Young Investigator Award, a John C. Sluder Fellowship (MIT), an ILJU Foundation Award, an LG Chemical Fellowship, and the SNU President Prize.

He currently serves as an MIT Educational Counselor, an external evaluator of Seoul National University, an Editorial Board Member of multiple journals, a Conference Organizing Committee Member of SEED2022 and ME15, and a Council Member of Engineering Biology Research Consortium. He is the Founding Chair and organizer of SynBYSS (Synthetic Biology Young Speaker Series), a weekly multi-year seminar series, in which a global thought leader, a synthetic biology pioneer, and a young rising star discuss synthetic biology, systems biology, and metabolic engineering with more than 1000 global audiences.

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Edward You
Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.

Edward You is a Supervisory Special Agent in the FBI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate. Mr. You is responsible for identifying, assessing, and responding to biological threats or incidents. He also supports FBI initiatives to build partnerships across the government and with the life sciences community, domestically and internationally. His overall goal is to safeguard the scientific community, the life science research enterprise, and the U.S. bioeconomy. He completed a Joint Duty Assignment serving as a Liaison Officer in the Dept. of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of National Security where he was responsible for being the primary focal point to coordinate law enforcement and security exchanges between HHS and FBI and supported the Federal COVID-19 Response Security and Assurance efforts in supply chain risk management. Before being promoted to the Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, Mr. You served as a member of the FBI Los Angeles Field Office Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI Hazardous Evidence Response Team.

Mr. You has also been directly involved in policy-making efforts with a focus on biosecurity and protecting biotechnology developments. He served as an active Working Group member in support of the White House National Security Council Countering Biological Threats initiatives and represented the FBI as an Ex Officio member of the National Institutes of Health National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. He also served on two National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine Committees, the Institute of Medicine’s Forum on Microbial Threats and the Committee on Science, Technology, and Law’s Forum on Synthetic Biology. He is currently a Senior Fellow for the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University.

Prior to joining the FBI, Mr. You had extensive experience in academic research having worked for three years in autoimmune disease research at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and six years in human gene therapy and retrovirology at the University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine. Just prior to joining the FBI, Mr. You worked for three years in the commercial biotechnology sector conducting cancer research and assay development at AMGEN, Inc.

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Marc T. Facciotti, PhD
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Genomics at the University of California, Davis.

Marc T. Facciotti, PhD is an Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Genomics at the University of California, Davis. He completed a PhD in Biophysics at the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and held a postdoctoral fellowship at Institute for System Biology before starting his faculty position at UC Davis in 2008. The work in Facciotti’s lab has focused primarily on the molecular mechanisms and evolution of gene regulatory networks in archaea. Facciotti also engages in educational research, and is intrigued by the challenge of better understanding how technology and experiential learning will contribute to reshaping the future of higher education.

Facciotti has also committed expanding opportunities for training in biotechnology to undergraduate students of all backgrounds and prior experience levels. He has served as a mentor for 11 of UC Davis’ iGEM teams, (co)-created and taught five different laboratory-based courses in the areas of synthetic biology, biodesign and microbial genomics, served as faculty mentor for the student research club, and established an academic biomaker space on the UC Davis campus. In the latter he explores how to develop high-impact practices that can affordably expand access training and early innovation in biotechnology to all students. 

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Special Agent Josh Canter
Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator, Boston Field Office.

Special Agent Joshua Canter has been assigned to the Boston Division since July of 2008. After working Counter-proliferation for 5 years SA Canter transferred to the Domestic Terrorism Squad to be the Hazardous Evidence Response Team Leader and one of the Boston Division’s full-time Assistant Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinators. SA Canter has worked numerous special events and WMD call-outs to include the Boston Marathon, 4th of July, the Presidential Inauguration, Super Bowls and the Vermont Ricin Case. In November of 2018 SA Canter was appointed as the Boston Division’s Primary WMD Coordinator.

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Atek Kagirita
Chair, East Africa Regional Biosafety and Biosecurity Technical Working Group (TWG).

Mr. Atek Kagirita is a distinguished Biosafety and Biosecurity management consultant. He is the Chair of East Africa Regional Biosafety Biosecurity TWG. He is an internationally certified professional by IFBA in Biosafety, Biosecurity and Biocontainment. He has nurtured and successfully implemented Biosafety Biosecurity program in Uganda in the last 10 years embracing multisectoral approaches and One health. The program boosts of pool of national certified trainers, Auditors, assorted documentation and annual national laboratory improvement projects.

Mr Atek Kagirita is also a distinguished expert on management of Public health emergencies with 15 years of preparing and controlling public health emergencies including viral heamorrhagic fevers and now Covid 19 in Uganda. He has served in different portfolios and now as acting Assistant Commissioner for Public Health Laboratory Services at the Ministry of Health. When the Covid 19 struck; Atek was assigned role of the National Incident Manager for Covid-19; tasked with coordination of all response actions towards effective control of the pandemic. His academic background combines Laboratory, Public Health and Administration.

 

 

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Dr. Jacob M. Pasner
Data Scientist

Dr. Jacob M. Pasner draws upon six years as a data scientist analyzing particle physics data from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to comment on the cutting edge data technologies available to researchers today. More recently Jake leveraged this background to develop first-of-it’s-kind data science legislation as a Science & Technology Policy Fellow on U.S. Senator Ron Wyden’s technology policy team. He is passionate about making global open access data a reality and empowering researchers to use that data for the good of society. While he currently lives and works in Washington DC Jake’s first job was working on his father’s farm in California. 

 

 

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