Group leader Erika DeBenedictis has expertise in physics and synthetic biology. Her group will focus on using computational design and evolution to engineer proteins and organisms.
Erika is a former astronomer and current synthetic biologist. She received a BS from Caltech in 2014, where she worked on topics in computational physics including orbit design for space missions at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and in silico drug discovery at D. E. Shaw Research.
Erika received a PhD from MIT in 2020, where she developed methods for robotics-accelerated directed evolution, and applied these tools to tackle problems in synthetic biology. Her postdoc in David Baker’s lab at the Institute for Protein Design at the University of Washington focused on using machine learning techniques to systematically engineer de novo proteins.
In collaboration with Schmidt Futures, she launched the 2022 Bioautomation Challenge, a grant program that improves the reproducibility, scalability, and shareability of life science research with programmable experiments. She now leads the Biodesign Laboratory at the Francis Crick Institute in London, UK.