Hear This Idea
Hear This Idea
Sep 21, 2022
#53 – Tessa Alexanian and Janvi Ahuja on Synthetic Biology and GCBRs

A full writeup of this episode, including references and a transcript, is available on our website: hearthisidea.com/episodes/alexanian-ahuja

Tessa Alexanian is the Safety & Security Program Officer at the iGEM Foundation, which organises a worldwide competition in synthetic biology and helps foster a collaborative community. She is a fellow at the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative, was previously a fellow at the Foresight Institute, and co-founded the East Bay Biosecurity Group.

Janvi Ahuja is a PhD student in computational biology at the University of Oxford, where she is affiliated with the Future of Humanity Institute and works with MIT’s Nucleic Acid Observatory on metagenomic sequencing. Janvi is also a fellow at the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative, and was previously an intern at the UN’s Biological Weapons Convention ISU

We discuss:

  • How synthetic biology began and why it is an exploding field
  • The iGEM competition and how to get involved in the community
  • Challenges and trade-offs in creating a culture of responsibility in synthetic biology
  • Emerging risks in synthetic biology and what this means for global catastrophic risks
  • Technical projects in biosecurity and career advice for how to get involved

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