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

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