BIOENGINEERING IS NOT PROGRAMMING" BY LOUIS METZGER
The precise engineering of biology will play a major role in the future of the world's economy. While technical advances have made this feasible, there is much yet to learn. It is therefore important to understand that the engineering of biology is not, as it is frequently portrayed, entirely analogous to programming.
This seminar will introduce non-professional biologists to the types of information encoded by genomes & affected by numerous chemical processes & interactions. As we explore the layers of biology's complexity, we hope to equip the audience with appreciation for opportunities posed by these in the areas of medicine, green chemistry, environmental remediation, & material science. Along the way, we will pause to examine marvels ranging from toxic mushrooms to cephalopod intelligence.
The seminar will be taught by Louis Metzger. He believes that the precise engineering of biology will enable a coming revolution in how humans live, work, & interact with our planet. Inspired by his undergraduate research in the computational modeling of protein-small molecule interactions, Louis earned his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Duke University, where his work lay at the intersection of enzymology, lipid biochemistry, & bacterial membrane biogenesis. He subsequently performed postdoctoral research at UCSF, where he employed protein X-ray crystallography to study enzymes' structures & functions. Louis then joined Novartis (2012-18), where he spent six years developing technologies in protein chemistry & contributing to therapeutic projects in diverse disease areas. In addition to founding & leading an antibacterial discovery team, Louis served on an outward-facing Novartis search & evaluation task force, a role which sparked his enthusiasm for the Bay Area's vibrant biotechnology ecosystem. Since 2018, he has served as Chief Scientific Officer of Tierra Biosciences (formerly Synvitrobio), building a cell-free platform with which to bio-prospect in nature for novel chemical matter.