Codon Devices

 About Us

  • Management Team
  • Board of Directors
  • Scientific Advisory Board
  • Codon Careers


Scientific Advisory Board


George Church
Chairman, Co-Founder, Harvard Medical School

George Church is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Center for Computational Genetics.

He has co-authored research on 3D-software & RNA structure with Sung-Hou Kim. His PhD from Harvard in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology with Wally Gilbert included the first direct genomic sequencing method in 1984. He helped initiate the Human Genome Project as a Research Scientist at newly-formed Biogen Inc. and a Monsanto Life Sciences Research Fellow at UCSF. He invented the broadly-applied concepts of molecular multiplexing and tags, homologous recombination methods, and array DNA synthesizers. Technology transfer of automated sequencing & software to Genome Therapeutics Corp. resulted in the first commercial genome sequence (the human pathogen, H. pylori, 1994).

Dr. Church has served in advisory roles for 12 journals, 5 granting agencies and 22 biotech companies. Current research focuses on integrating biosystems-modeling with personal genomics & synthetic biology. He holds degrees from Duke University in Chemistry and Zoology.
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David Baker
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at the University of Washington

Dr. Baker is an Associate Assistant Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and is also Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Adjunct Associate Professor of Physics and of Bioengineering at the University of Washington, Seattle. Dr. Baker uses a combination of experimental and computational approaches to understand the basic principles underlying protein folding and protein-protein interactions. He is applying this knowledge to the prediction and design of macromolecular structures and interactions.

Dr. Baker did his undergraduate work at Harvard University and received his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from the University of California, Berkeley. His postdoctoral work in biochemistry and biophysics was done at the University of California, San Francisco.
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Franco Cerrina
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Dr. Cerrina is an IEEE, APS and OSA Fellow, recipient of the SRC Aristotle award, and the director of the Center for Nano Technology. His research interests are in the area of semiconductor processing and device fabrication, in particular lithography, and X-ray optics and technology. This research has a strong applied content and is currently focused on manufacturing technologies such as post-optical lithographies. More specifically, he is researching the application of X-rays to lithography for semiconductor manufacturing and to microscopy for materials and biological science. His activities include not only work with synchrotron X-rays, but also metrology, electron beam and extreme UV lithography (EUVL), and atomic force microscopy. He also focuses on the computer modeling of optical systems (X-ray optics) and of semiconductor lithography, where his group has developed codes that are now worldwide standards. Recently Dr. Cerrina has become interested in the application of microfabrication techniques to biological problems and has developed a novel method for the rapid synthesis of DNA microarray chips. This technique is being commercialized.

Dr. Cerrina has published over 200 papers and holds several patents. He earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Rome.
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Jim Collins
Boston University

Dr. Collins is a University Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University. Dr. Collins is a pioneer in systems biology - the study of the cell as a system of biological components - and a world leader in the use of nonlinear dynamical techniques to reverse-engineer gene regulatory networks. He is also the co-director and co-founder of the Center for BioDynamics at BU. Dr. Collins has won a number of awards, including a Rhodes Scholarship and a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant.

He holds a Ph.D. in Medical Engineering from the University of Oxford, and an
A.B. in Physics, from the College of the Holy Cross.
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Michael Elowitz
California Institute of Technology

Michael Elowitz is Assistant Professor of Biology and Applied Physics at the California Institute for Technology. His lab is interested in how living cells respond to their environment, communicate with one another, and develop into multicellular organisms. Dr. Elowitz's research focuses on how these tasks are accomplished using the network of interacting genes and proteins contained in the cell and in the opposite question of how novel networks can be engineered within cells to implement alternative cellular behaviors using a combination of experimental and theoretical techniques.

His lab will build on these methodologies and develop new techniques for improved understanding of the structure and function of the genetic networks produced by evolution, while at the same time, learning how to create synthetic networks that generate novel behaviors in and among cells.

Dr. Elowitz holds a B.A. from the University of California, and earned his
Ph.D. at Princeton University, 1999.
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Drew Endy
Co-Founder, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

As a member of the MIT faculty, Dr. Endy's research focuses on the engineering of integrated biological systems and error detection in reproducing machines. From 1998 through 2001, Dr. Endy helped start the Molecular Sciences Institute, an independent not-for-profit biological research lab in Berkeley, CA. In 2002, he started a group as a fellow in the Department of Biology and the Biological Engineering Division at MIT, and he joined the MIT faculty in 2004.

Dr. Endy co-founded the MIT Synthetic Biology working group and the Registry of Standard Biological Parts, and organized the First International Conference on Synthetic Biology. He and colleagues taught the 2003 and 2004 MIT Synthetic Biology labs, and organized the 2004 Synthetic Biology competition, a five-school course that enabled students to work together to design and build engineered biological systems. In 2005, Dr. Endy and colleagues organized the Intercollegiate Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) competition.

Dr. Endy studied civil, environmental, and biochemical engineering at Lehigh University and Thayer School, Dartmouth College.
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Michael Hunkapiller
Alloy Ventures

Michael Hunkapiller joined Alloy in 2004 after 21 years at Applied Biosystems, which he helped grow from startup to almost $2 billion in annual revenues supplying instrument and reagent systems for life science research. At ABI, he held several positions, most recently as President and General Manager. He was also a founder of ABI's sister company Celera Genomics  and Senior Vice President of Applera Corporation (their parent company). Prior to joining ABI, Dr. Hunkapiller was a senior research fellow in the Division of Biology at the California Institute of Technology.

He has authored more than 100 scientific publications, is an inventor on more than two dozen patents, and has served on the editorial boards of several scientific journals. He has received several awards for his contributions to life science research, including the development of the automated DNA sequencing systems used to sequence the human genome.

Dr. Hunkapiller received a B.S. in Chemistry from Oklahoma Baptist University in 1970 and a Ph.D. in Chemical Biology from the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Caltech in 1974.

Joseph Jacobson
Co-Founder, MIT Media Lab

Dr. Joseph Jacobson leads the Molecular Machines group of the Center for Bits and Atoms. His research is aimed at reinventing microelectronics by developing processes for directly and continuously printing communication, computation, and displays onto arbitrary substrates.

Dr. Jacobson is the author of 45 peer-reviewed journal and conference papers and holds several patents and patents pending in display technology and printed electronics. He received a 2001 Discover magazine award for technological innovation, and in 1999 he was named as one of Technology Review's 100 most influential innovators under the age of 35. As a graduate student researching femtosecond lasers, he set the record for the shortest pulse ever generated by a laser (in optical cycles). His postdoctoral work in nonlinear-nonlocal quantum systems was published in the Physical Review and was written up in the New York Times, New Scientist and Physics Today.

Dr. Jacobson was educated at MIT and Stanford, receiving a PhD in physics and a postdoctoral fellowship in physics, respectively.
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Jay Keasling
Co-Founder, UC-Berkeley

Dr. Jay Keasling, a Professor of Chemical Engineering and Founding Director of the Synthetic Biology Department at UC-Berkeley, is a recognized leader in engineering of metabolic pathways in cells. His research focuses on the metabolic engineering of microorganisms for degradation of environmental contaminants or for environmentally friendly synthesis. To that end, he has developed a number of new genetic and mathematical tools to allow more precise and reproducible control of metabolism. These tools are being used in such applications as synthesis of biodegradable polymers, accumulation of phosphate and heavy metals, and degradation of chlorinated and aromatic hydrocarbons, biodesulfurization of fossil fuels, and complete mineralization of organophosphate nerve agents and pesticides.

Dr. Keasling holds a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from University of Michigan.
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David Liu
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Harvard University

David Liu is Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University

Dr. Liu's research applies evolutionary principles to the creation and evaluation of small molecules and macromolecules. His research interests include the development and application of new approaches to the evolution of biological macromolecules, and the application of evolutionary principles to the discovery of synthetic small molecules, synthetic polymers, and new chemical reactions.

In the first area, Dr. Liu's group has developed and applied new methods for diversifying proteins and nucleic acids that enable DNA sequences to randomly recombine without any sequence homology. His efforts have led to the laboratory evolution of new macromolecular tools for studying biology, and have also dissected the structural and functional requirements of natural proteins and small RNA (sRNA) molecules.

In the second area of interest, Dr. Liu's group has developed a new approach to the synthesis and discovery of synthetic molecules that captures fundamental advantages of biological evolution. This approach uses DNA oligonucleotides to direct the sequence-programmed synthesis of organic small molecules and polymers. As a result, the DNA template linked to each synthetic molecule can be selected for desired properties, amplified by PCR, and characterized by DNA sequencing or microarray analysis. By marrying synthetic organic chemistry with molecular biology, this research has enabled synthetic small molecules as well as synthetic polymers to undergo powerful processes of translation, selection, and amplification previously available only to biological macromolecules.

Dr. Liu earned his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1999 and became Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University in the same year.
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Paul Modrich
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator at Duke University

Dr. Modrich is a Howard Hughes Investigator and a James B. Duke Professor of Biochemistry at Duke University Medical Center. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He was recently elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is a recipient of the Pfizer Award in enzyme chemistry from the American Chemical Society, the General Motors Mott Prize in cancer research, and the Pasarow Foundation Award in cancer research.

Dr. Modrich received his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Stanford University, working with Robert Lehman. He did postdoctoral work at Harvard Medical School with Charles Richardson.
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Christina Smolke
California Institute of Technology

Christina Smolke is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at the California Institute of Technology. Before starting her position at Caltech, Christina served as a National Institutes of Health postdoctoral fellow in cell biology at UC Berkeley for two years. Dr. Smolke's laboratory is developing novel design platforms for nucleic acid molecules and examining the application of these engineered molecules in diverse areas such as programmed cellular behavior, "intelligent" therapeutics, and nanosensor devices. This research is rapidly advancing current capabilities of assessing and programming cellular state.

Dr. Smolke graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering with a minor in biology in 1997. As a National Science Foundation fellow, she attended the University of California at Berkeley and earned her Ph.D. in 2001 in chemical engineering.
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Michael Sussman
University of Wisconsin, Madison

Dr. Sussman is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Sussman's main research focus is in signal transduction and bioenergetics of plant and fungi. His laboratory was the first to report the discovery of a unique family of calcium sensitive protein kinases found only in plants and in particular Arabidopsis. To help understand and study this class of enzymes in plants, he has developed a method of insertional mutagenesis to "knock out" genes in Arabidopsis. This molecular method can be applied to eliminating any gene in plants for studying individual genes as well as pathway metabolism.

Dr. Sussman earned his Ph.D. at Michigan State University in 1976, and conducted Postdoctoral Research at Yale University and Yale Medical School.
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Ron Weiss
Princeton University

Dr. Weiss is an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University. His research focuses on programming cells by embedding synthetic gene networks that implement biochemical logic circuits, as well as embedding sensors, actuators, and intercellular communication mechanisms. His lab is exploring mechanisms for harnessing various organisms as computational substrates and micron-scale robots, and extending their behavior by embedding biochemical logic circuitry that precisely controls intra- and inter-cellular processes. This engineering effort of constructing reliable in-vivo logic circuitry with predictable behavior enables a wide range of programmed applications. The application areas include drug and biomaterial manufacturing, programmed tissue engineering, embedded intelligence in materials, environmental sensing and effecting, nanoscale fabrication, and an improved understanding of naturally existing genetic circuits.

Dr. Weiss earned his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001.
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