Principal Investigators

Jane Calvert

Reader in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies, University of Edinburgh

Jane is a reader in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies in the Innogen Centre at the University of Edinburgh. She has a background in human sciences (Sussex), philosophy of science (London School of Economics), and science policy (Sussex). Before going to university, she trained at London Contemporary Dance School. Jane is particularly interested in the social dimensions of synthetic biology, including interdisciplinary interactions in the field, intellectual property and open source, and the roles of nature, design, and aesthetics in synthetic biology. She is the U.K. principal investigator on the Synthetic Aesthetics project and principal investigator on an ESRC seminar series on synthetic biology and the social sciences. She was a member of the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Working Party on Synthetic Biology and the U.K. Synthetic Biology Roadmap Coordination Group. She is currently a member of the Nuffield Council of Bioethics Working Party on Emerging Biotechnologies and the Bioscience and Society Panel.     

ESRC Innogen Centre
The University of Edinburgh
Old Surgeon’s Hall
High School Yards
Edinburgh EH1 1LZ
Scotland, UK

Drew Endy

Assistant Professor - Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University

Drew Endy teaches in the new bioengineering major at Stanford and previously helped start the biological engineering major at MIT. His Stanford research team develops geneticallyencoded computers and redesigns virus genomes. He co-founded the BioBricks Foundation as a publicbenefit charity supporting free-to-use standards and technology that enable the engineering of biology. He co-organized what has become the i competition and the International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology (BIOFAB). He serves on the U.S. Committee on Science Technology and Law and is a new member of the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity. He chaired the  Synthetic Biology study as a member of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, served as an ad hoc member of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Recombinant Advisor Committee, and co-authored the Synthetic Genomics:Options for Governance report with colleagues from the Center for Strategic & International Studies and the J. Craig Venter Institute. Esquire named Endy one of the  most influential people of the twenty-first century. He lives in Menlo Park, California.

Y2E2 Building-269B, 
473 Via Ortega
Stanford, CA 94305-4201

Alistair Elfick

Reader and Director – Centre for Biomedical Engineering, University of Edinburgh

Alistair Elfick is reader and director at the Centre for Biomedical Engineering, University of Edinburgh. Alistair gained degrees in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering at the University of Durham, U.K. An emergent interest in the tissue reaction to foreign particles released from joint replacements led him to postdoc in the School of Medicine at the University of Newcastle, U.K. Alistair won both a Fulbright Commission Distinguished Scholar’s Award and a Royal Academy of Engineering Global Research Award, which enabled him to experience biomedical engineering research at the University of California, Berkeley. Having enjoyed too much Californian sunshine, Alistair returned to his hometown of Edinburgh in  to take an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellowship at its eponymous University. The development of novel instrumentation for the measurement of biological samples is the core research undertaken in Alistair’s group, work that has served to embed him in the synthetic biology community. Alistair is co-supervisor of Edinburgh’s iGEM team and founding director of the Edinburgh Centre for Synthetic Biology. A recent merger with the Centre for Systems Biology has created SynThSys Edinburgh of which Alistair is co-director. Alistair co-authored the Royal Academy of Engineering’s report Synthetic Biology ’ and has contributed to evidence gathering to inform policy of both Scottish and U.K. governments, funding councils, and regulatory bodies.

The University of Edinburgh
Sanderson Building
The King’s Buildings
Edinburgh EH9 3JL
Scotland, UK

Postdoctoral Scholar

Design Fellow

Pablo Schyfter

Postdoctoral Scholar - Department of Bioengineering, Stanford University

Pablo is a lecturer in Science, Technology and Innovation Studies at the University of Edinburgh. His current research focuses on synthetic biology and makes use of sociological and philosophical perspectives on biology, technology, and engineering. Broadly speaking, this research looks to understand the ramifications of bringing to bear engineering on the domain of living nature. A former theatre student, Pablo relished the chance to reengage with art and artists as the Synthetic Aesthetics project’s postdoctoral research fellow. In addition to his ongoing work on bioscience and biotechnology, Pablo has carried out research and writing in gender studies and Latin American studies.


Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg

Design Fellow

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Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg is a designer, artist and writer. Seeking new roles for design, Daisy is developing experimental design approaches to help us imagine alternative ideals around technology. As Design Fellow on the Synthetic Aesthetics project, she co-curated this international program, developing novel modes of collaboration and critical discourse between art, design and synthetic biology.

Daisy studied architecture at the University of Cambridge, design at Harvard University, and Design Interactions at the Royal College of Art, where she began a PhD in 2013. She was lead curator of Grow Your Own... Life After Nature, a flagship exhibition about synthetic biology at Dublin's Science Gallery in 2013-2014. Her work has been exhibited at MoMA, the Art Institute of Chicago, The Wellcome Trust, London’s Design Museum, the Israel Museum, the National Museum of China, and is in Trento’s Museo Delle Scienze’s permanent collection. Daisy publishes, teaches, and lectures internationally: talks include TEDGlobal and PopTech. In 2011, E. chromi was nominated for the Brit Insurance “Designs of The Year” and the Index Award, and she won the World Technology Award (Design). In 2012, Daisy received the first London Design Medal for Emerging Talent.