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John Cumbers

CEO and Founder, SynBioBeta
Planetary Sustainability Lead, NASA Ames Space Portal

John is the founder and CEO of SynBioBeta, an activity hub for synthetic biology startup companies, industry and investors. He received his PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University. He has a masters degree in bioinformatics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and an undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of Hull in England. He founded the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines competition) team at Brown University in 2005, was an iGEM ambassador to China in 2006/2007 and has been working in the field of synthetic biology and resource utilization in space at NASA Ames since 2008. He currently leads the Planetary Sustainability Collaboratory at the NASA Ames Space Portal where he works on partnerships that bring new technologies to bear on sustainability challenges on Earth and in space. In 2010, John was the recipient of a National Academies Keck Futures Initiative award to hold a workshop on the role that synthetic biology could play in NASA’s missions.