Team:EMW Street Bio/Team

Biota Beats - by EMW Streetbio

Meet the Team

  • David Sun Kong, PhD

    David Sun Kong, Ph.D., is a synthetic biologist, community organizer, musician, and photographer. He conducted his graduate studies at MIT’s Media Laboratory, receiving a Master’s degree in nanotechnology and a Ph.D. in synthetic biology. He currently conducts research at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, where he is a world leader in developing microfluidic, “lab-on-a-chip” biotechnologies. He was recognized as an emerging leader in synthetic biology as a “LEAP” fellow, served as a guest faculty member at the Marine Biology Lab in Woods Hole, and is managing faculty of “How To Grow (Almost) Anything,” an international course on biotechnology. David is also the founder and director of EMW, a community center in Cambridge MA with a mission of empowering communities through art and technology. As a musician, David has performed as a DJ, beat-boxer, vocalist, and rapper at hundreds of venues. His photography has been exhibited at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian and other museums and galleries across the U.S.

  • Keerthi is a Hellman Fellow in Science and Technology Policy at the American Academy. Keerthi joined the American Academy after completing her Ph.D in Immunobiology at Yale University. At Yale, she was the co-president of the Yale Science Diplomats, a science policy group, where she helped develop a science lecture series for local high schools and the general public, organized policy writing workshops and seminars, and contacted legislators about funding issues concerning biomedical research. She is excited to be able to continue her passion for STEM outreach through EMW Street Bio.

    Keerthi Shetty, PhD

  • Thrasyvoulos Karydis

    Thras is a first year PhD student in the Molecular Machines group at MIT Media Lab. As a Research Assistant in Molecular Machines group and the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms, he is actively involved in multidisciplinary projects including Computational Biology, Synthetic Biology, Artificial Olfaction, Femto-second laser Micro-Machining and rapid-prototyping. He is a graduate of the very first course of How to Grow almost Anything! He was an undergrad at University of Patras, Greece, as an Electrical and Computer Engineer with a major in Information theory and Communications, where he worked on Quantum Cryptography.

  • Yixiao Jiang

  • Alexandria Guo

    Alexandria Guo is a sophomore studying computational biology at Wellesley College. Currently working in a computational chemistry lab modelling protein-protein interactions, she also enjoys reading in her spare time and volunteers at the EMW Library.

  • Born and raised in South Central Los Angeles, Matt is a cancer researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and aspiring emergency medicine physician. As a science educator, jazz musician, community organizer and advocate for social medicine Matt is interested in humanities and arts in medicine and the relationship between community health, the democratization of biotechnology, health disparities and social inequality.

    Matt Mendoza

  • Mary Tsang

    Mary 'Maggic' Tsang is an artist and biohacker working at the intersection of culture, biotechnology, and civil disobedience. Her investigations challenge the role of creator and creation, the ethics of the postnatural product, and the supposed promises of science and technology. She holds a Bachelor of Science and Art (BSA) in Biological Sciences and Art from Carnegie Mellon University and is currently pursuing her masters in Media Arts and Sciences at MIT Media Lab, Design Fiction research group.

  • Shannon is a Research Assistant at the Neurobiology Department of the Harvard Medical School and is currently pursuing a Masters in Bioengineering and Nanotechnologies with a focus on microfluidics at the Harvard University Extension School. At Brown University she studied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and investigated the use of mesenchymal stem cell-derived extracellular vesicles to treat liver damage from acetaminophen overdose in mice. She recently has gotten involved with the DIY bio community spaces of Boston and is having a wonderful time meeting new people through EMW Street Bio and the iGEM competition.

    Shannon Johnson

  • Ani Liu

    Ani is a speculative technologist, artist, designer and researcher. Her work explores the intersection between technology, sensory perception, culture & implications of emerging technologies. Her work has spanned the scales of built installations, prosthetic wearables, virtual reality immersions, to synthetic biology, as she searches for the epiphanies linking technological innovation with emotional affordance. Trained as an artist at Dartmouth, an architect at Harvard, and now a ​researcher at MIT​ Media Lab​, Ani continually seeks to discover the unexpected, through playful experimentation, intuition, and speculative storytelling.

  • Viirj Kan is an interaction researcher and designer working at the intersection of materials, chemistry, and robotics. She develops interfaces that connect humans to a broad range of systems. Currently at MIT Media Lab, she researches new methods for developing programmable biopolymers. Prior to joining MIT, Viirj conducted human-robot interaction research at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory and worked as a freelance design consultant. Her work has been featured on Fast Company, CNN, Vice, MIT News and the Museum of Fine Arts. She is holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and is currently completing a Master of Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Viirj Kan

  • Rachel Smith

    Rachel Smith is a biomedical engineer exploring processes of integrating biology into materials and current fabrication processes. She hopes such mergers will spark brand new relationships and applications in which our materials may inherit the traits of sensing, reacting, growing or cooperating organisms. Rachel has a long-time interest in engaging people in the community with explorational biological engineering and the demystification of genetic modification. She holds a Bachelor of Science from University of Virginia, and is currently a researcher at the Mediated Matter group of the MIT Media Lab.

EMW Street Bio

Biology is humanity’s next technology revolution. The ability to re-engineer life on our planet has profound implications, from reshaping how we produce the medicine, materials, and energy we depend on, to augmenting humankind itself. Yet, the infrastructure for biological engineering, from organism design tools to DNA assembly to organism implementation, is nascent and largely confined to the laboratories of academia and corporations. Thus, we have an incredible opportunity, as the infrastructure for our bio-economy is being constructed, to move biological technologies from ivory towers and corporations to the street—to the youth, to the misfits at the edges of culture, to the communities that never dreamed of biology as a medium for creative expression.

Although Cambridge is an international hub for biotech, there is a disconnect between the science and the public. With Street Bio at EMW (East Meets West - a hub for technology, arts, and activism), we explore the interface between engineered biology and the street—the people, culture, and products that will shape how biology leaves the lab and enters our everyday lives. The concept was conceived in Summer 2015 by Dr. David Kong, a graduate of the MIT Media Lab who currently conducts synthetic biology, microfluidics, and digital fabrication research at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory. Over the year students and professionals have joined the movement to create a biohacking space that was much needed in Cambridge.