Drawing on our personal experiences and professional networks, we are driven to provide fresh content to teachers, engaging students as problem solvers in the process.
Isadora is a screenwriter, novelist, playwright and MIT administrative assistant. Her science fiction novel series, Right of Capture (Pelekinesis 2016) and Riven’s Path (Pelekinesis 2018). Her fiction podcast “The Sequence” was a Semi-Finalist in the Austin Film Festival Competition 2020, and she was a Quarter-Finalist in AFF’s Playwriting, Teleplay Pilot, and Short Screenplay Competitions. She helped coordinate some of the first iGEM competitions at MIT, and co-wrote the “Adventures in Synthetic Biology” comic with Drew Endy and the “Synthetic Biology Working Group,” illustrated by Chuck Wadey. Isadora received her Master’s from Boston University’s Playwriting Program.
A graduate of Boston College and George Washington Law School, John is a member of Mintz Levin’s Corporate & Securities practice. For 30 years, he has advised biotechnology, life science, medical device, and clean technology companies on a broad range of legal issues, including on the structuring of collaborative research and development efforts, strategic alliances, and joint ventures. John’s practice is heavily focused on transactions involving licensing and technology “spin-outs,” sponsored research, and supply and distribution relationships.
Katie is an Assistant Professor of biochemistry in the Chemistry Department at Williams College (Williamstown, MA). Her current research focuses on understanding and engineering protein function and energetics. She has taught professional development and student workshops for BioBuilder and is a co-author of BioBuilder: Synthetic Biology in the Lab. She holds a B.S. in Biology from Haverford College and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley.
Mary’s professional work oscillates from communications to project management to education policy, with more than 20 years of experience garnered in the newspaper, nonprofit, and education sectors. A longtime volunteer in the Boston Public Schools, she was appointed in January 2010 by Mayor Thomas M. Menino to serve a four-year term on the Boston School Committee, overseeing the district superintendent and a budget of $1 billion. She holds a bachelor of arts from the University of New Hampshire In English/Journalism and a master’s in Education Policy and Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Recognized in 2020 as a STEM Trailblazer by the Million Women Mentors and with the HA Rey Curiosity Award, Natalie is a highly regarded educator and curriculum developer who has taught for more than a dozen years in the Department of Biological Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She studied Chemistry as an undergraduate at Cornell, completed her doctoral and post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School, and taught at Wellesley College before joining the faculty at MIT in 2003.
Rebecca has spent decades helping global companies solve critical strategy and marketing problems, including a long tenure at McKinsey & Company. She believes excellence in science education is critical not just to U.S. competitiveness but also to human survival, and that education is an irreplaceable support for populations currently struggling for economic independence and a higher quality of life. Rebecca graduated from Harvard with a Special Concentration in Soviet and American Studies then earned an M.B.A. as a Tuck Scholar at Dartmouth.
Rebekah teaches Biology and Advanced Placement Biology at Tyngsborough High School in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts. She holds a B.A. in Biology and a doctorate in Mathematics and Science Education. She has been actively involved in the BioBuilder community since 2011, leading a BioBuilderClub team, and serving as a member of its Board of Directors. She is a recipient of the ASBMB Fostering K12/University Partnership Grant and the AMGEN Excellence in Science Teaching Award.
Valerie is a graduate of Brown University with an master’s in Theatre Arts and a B.A. in the self-designed major, Storytelling as a Communications Art. For two decades, Valerie has been telling stories from around the world with an emphasis on African traditions. She teaches workshops and classes to students of all ages, and hosted “Cultural Tapestry,” an award-winning cable television show celebrating diverse cultures for 12 years. She is founding member of the Rhode Island Black Storytellers and most recently served as its executive director and the festival director of FUNDA FEST. Valerie has received numerous awards for her work in the community including the Legacy Award from Big Brothers and Sisters of Rhode Island, a Community Service Award from Oasis International, and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Rhode Island College.
Donald Shobrys’ career has centered on helping people to make better decisions more rapidly, with a particular focus on managing the supply chain of manufacturing companies. He has engineering degrees from MIT and Northwestern and a Ph.D. in Operations Research from Johns Hopkins. His career started at Exxon.
Drew is associate chair of bioengineering at Stanford and president of the BioBricks Foundation (biobricks.org). His students have pioneered amplifying genetic logic gates, rewritable DNA data storage, LEGO-like standard biological parts, genome refactoring, and synthetic genetic codes that resist evolution. Drew helped launch new undergraduate majors in bioengineering at both MIT and Stanford, and also co-founded the iGEM, a genetic engineering “Olympics” that’s enabled over 50,000 students globally to learn about and practice biotechnology (igem.org). His “long-gone” students have founded and now lead various companies (e.g., Gingko Bioworks, Octant). Drew served on the US National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and the Committee on Science, Technology, & Law. More recently he has served on the World Health Organization’s Smallpox Advisory Committee and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Synthetic Biology Task Force. Drew was a co-founder of Gen9, Inc., a DNA construction company; he returned as a director while Gen9 was successfully acquired. Drew worked briefly with the Rapid Evaluation group at Google [X] and on the team that developed the new Shriram building at Stanford. He is a founding co-director of the Departments of Commerce and Energy’s Joint Initiative for Metrology in Biology (jimb.stanford.edu). The White House recognized Drew for his work on open-source biotechnology; the Technische Universiteit Delft awarded him an honorary doctorate; and Esquire declared him one of the 75 most influential people of the 21st century. He lives on Stanford’s campus with Christina (now CEO of Antheia; www.antheia.bio), two boys, two cats, and one dog.
Gayle Allen is currently the chief learning officer and director of BrightBytes Labs at BrightBytes, an educational software company in San Francisco. She has 15 years of experience as a teacher, school leader, and entrepreneur in the field of education. Gayle is the founder of two professional development institutes, including the McCord Grauer Center for Excellence in Teaching, and she is the former associate head of two independent schools. She earned her Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University, where she focused her research on teachers’ experiences with web 2.0 technologies and where she also served as an adjunct professor. Gayle also earned her M.B.A. from MIT’s Sloan Fellows Program in Innovation and Global Leadership.
Karen Katz has advised hundreds of emerging growth companies on various aspects of their business plans, including management and recruiting issues, market development, strategic partnerships, and financing strategies. She has helped more than 50 firms raise capital through DLA Piper’s collective global network of angel, venture, institutional, and strategic investors.
Sherry Annee has been teaching high school science since 1991 and currently teaches Honors Biotechnology at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School in Indianapolis. She is the recipient of the 2001 Milken National Educator Award, 2005 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award for Indiana, and 2009 Butler University Distinguished Alumni Award and has served as the Brebeuf Jesuit Science Department chairperson as well as president of both the Hoosier Association of Science Teachers, Inc., and Indiana Association of Biology Teachers. As a highly active teaching professional, she attended the 2011 and 2012 BioBuilder Workshops at MIT and co-hosted a 2012 BioBuilder workshop at Purdue University. Sherry earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Biology/Chemistry Secondary Education from Purdue University and a M.S. in Effective Teaching from Butler University.
Carla joined BioBuilder in February 2016. She coordinates our professional development workshops, the BioBuilderClub, and any odds and ends to support the organization. She attended Washington State University, where she studied Business Administration, Human Resources, and Management Information Systems.
Jessie joined BioBuilder in November 2019 to foster the growth of the organization through strategic operational initiatives, and to manage the day-to-day operations of BioBuilder. She comes most recently from the MIT Venture Mentoring Service Outreach Training Program, where she coordinated their core training program and taught modules, developed and managed their customer relations management tool, and coordinated program communications. She has a background in operational, managerial, and sales roles across public health and luxury retail, as well biological bench research, with experience working and living internationally in Europe and West Africa. She holds a B.A. in Biology and International & Global Studies from Brandeis University and an M.P.H. in International Health from the Boston University School of Public Health.
Kate develops and teaches Learning Lab workshops to introduce middle and high school students to synthetic biology. She has worked with the BioBuilder’s Apprenticeship Challenge program since 2016, and started teaching in the Learning Lab in March 2018. She received her Ph.D. in Biology from MIT and previously was an instructor in the MIT Department of Biology.
Kelley joined the BioBuilder team in November 2017, coordinating BioBuilder’s Apprenticeship Challenge program and managing Learning Lab operations. She graduated from University of Missouri – Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) with a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Science.
Vivek starting teaching school groups and optimizing new labs for BioBuilder in January 2019. He holds a PhD in microbiology from Harvard Medical School and a Master’s in education from Lesley University. Before joining BioBuilder, Vivek taught in two area private middle schools and, most recently, in a local STEM after-school program.