Dr. Tiffany Vora

Chair

Vice Chair of Medicine & Digital Biology

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Areas of Expertise

GGC-Environment  •  GGC-Health  •  GGC-Space  •  Medical Devices  •  Medical Robotics  •  Neuroscience  •  Wellness  •  Policy  •   Law  •   Ethics  •  GGC-Food  •  Genetics  •  GGC-Learning  •  Future of Learning  •  Environment  •  Convergence  •  Longevity  •  Biotech  •  Digital Biology  •  Microbiome  •  SciFi  •  Medicine

About Tiffany

Dr. Tiffany Vora is an educator, writer, research scientist, and entrepreneur who is excited to bring her diversity of experience to Singularity University as Faculty and Vice Chair of Medicine and Digital Biology.
After earning undergraduate degrees in Biology and Chemistry at New York University, Tiffany worked on cutting-edge drug-discovery technologies at Bristol-Myers Squibb. Her PhD research in the Department of Molecular Biology at Princeton University, which was funded through NASA, brought her into the emerging fields of genomics, systems biology, and computational biology. It was during this time that Tiffany developed an interest in the cultural and ethical shifts that accompany new technologies and new ways of thinking. She translated this interest into a global perspective by joining the American University of Cairo as a Visiting Assistant Professor, where she spearheaded curriculum development for core classes in scientific thinking as well as computational biology classes for non-programmers.
Upon her return to the United States, Tiffany founded Bayana Science, an editing, writing, and consulting company dedicated to excellence in science communication. Tiffany also served as an instructor for the Department of Bioengineering at Stanford University. She has contributed to literally thousands of grant proposals, research articles, presentations, textbooks, and other works spanning medicine, computer science, applied physics, chemistry, nanotechnology, and the life sciences.
At Singularity University, Tiffany previously served as full-time faculty as well as the Faculty Director of Singularity’s global ecosystem of Experts and thought leaders. Through Singularity, Tiffany has mentored startup founders, inspired companies to tackle humanity’s grand challenges, and supported governments and other organizations to prepare for a radically different future of life on Earth (and elsewhere). She has particularly focused on nurturing, amplifying, and connecting women and people of color around the world—because diversity drives creativity and innovation.
Tiffany’s expertise in biology and medicine encompasses fields as diverse as CRISPR, the microbiome, genetics, climate change, longevity, human space biology, agriculture, AR/VR in the life sciences, ancient molecules, biophysics, environmental monitoring, tissue engineering, biohacking, and the quantitative analysis of large biological datasets. Overall, Tiffany is passionate about translating the leading edge of science and medicine into actionable insights for individuals, companies, and society.
Tiffany loves encountering the natural world through hiking and scuba diving. She travels extensively with her family, seeking out new experiences and cultures. She enjoys sharing her passions through teaching, writing, and public speaking.

Programming Africa’s Future From the Inside Out | SingularityU South Africa Summit

The Future of Your Health - SingularityU Canada Summit 2019

Programming life with Digital Biology I SingularityU Nordic Summit 2019

What's Your Gut Feeling? Using microbiome as Your Secret Tool - Dr. Tiffany Vora (Summit 2019)

Do We Have the Right to Edit Entire Species? | Tech-x-planations | Singularity Hub

Digital Biology: Programming the Future of Life | SingularityU Nordic Summit 2018

Speaking Topics

  • Current State of Gene Editing

    We are witnessing the creation and development of new technologies that enable the precise and permanent modification of the source code of life—DNA. Advancements in gene editing tools such as CRISPR/Cas9 have applications that span the fields of medicine, agriculture and space exploration. They are revolutionizing humanity’s power to positively impact the world around us and hold the potential to help solve some of our most pressing Global Grand Challenges.

    Join Dr. Tiffany Vora as we explore the current state of gene-editing technologies, the current roadblocks to progress, and methods for innovation while confronting important ethical and moral issues.

    In this session, you will:

    Understand the power of the paradigm of digital biology and its implications
    Gain familiarity with the gene-editing technologies that are enabled by this paradigm
    Identify current roadblocks to innovation and track ongoing progress in the field
    Prepare to confront the benefits and challenges that gene editing will bring to society in the near future
    Position yourself for continued immersive exploration into gene editing and its applications across industries.

  • Digital Biology: Programming the Future of Life

    The life sciences are a critical component of the global economy and of modern life. Just as computers store information as strings of 0s and 1s, on Earth, living systems store information in DNA. By reading out this information, digital biology is revolutionizing human health and wellness, agriculture, environmental monitoring and remediation, biofuel production, and many other industries. Excitingly, this paradigm of “DNA as information” suggests that living systems are just that: systems that can be “programmed” by altering their DNA “algorithms.” Although the application of digital biology raises profound ethical, governmental, and environmental questions, these technologies provide a tremendous opportunity to solve some of humanity’s global grand challenges, such as health, food, water, energy, the environment, and even space. If the 20th century was the Computer Age, then the 21st century will be the Biology Age.
    In this session, you will:
    – Encounter a framework for understanding major advances in the life sciences
    – Track exciting breakthroughs and ongoing progress
    – Identify problem and solution spaces undergoing disruption
    – Explore the short-term, medium-term, and long-term benefits and challenges prompted by the explosion of digital biology
    – Position yourself to be an active designer and consumer of the new future of life on Earth … and elsewhere.

  • Future of Health Through Biotech Solutions

    Due to the rise and convergence of exponential technologies, medicine and health are currently undergoing a fundamental shift away from episodic, reactive, and expensive “sickcare” to continuous, proactive, and cheaper “healthcare.” Exponential increases in the speed and decreases in the costs of computing, sensors, DNA sequencing, additive manufacturing (3D printing), and other technologies are empowering individuals to take ownership of their health—sometimes without direct intervention by a medical professional. This shift toward personalized and connected medicine is revolutionizing diagnosis, therapy, medical discovery, and global health initiatives. Although the explosion of personal health data is associated with important ethical and regulatory issues, the integration of a suite of technologies within an “exponential medicine” paradigm will drive improvements in human health, wellness, and prosperity on a worldwide scale.
    In this session, you will:
    – Identify the major trends in healthcare that are defining new problem and solution spaces
    – Explore exciting breakthroughs and ongoing progress
    – Interrogate ethical, moral, and social issues that will arise from new medical technologies and applications
    – Prepare yourself, your family, and your organization to live in a world of radically different medical opportunities and challenges.

  • Gene Editing for Precision Medicine

    Gene editing technologies like CRISPR/Cas9 are rapidly revolutionizing how we precisely and permanently alter the DNA of living things—including humans. How will cutting-edge DNA sequencing and gene editing technologies empower us to understand, model, prevent, and even reverse disease in a patient-specific manner? Just as importantly, what ethical and social challenges must we address on our path to Precision Medicine? This discussion considers technical advances and roadblocks, ongoing clinical trials, and predictions about where gene editing and Precision Medicine will take us in the near future.
    In this session, you will:
    – Understand the details of how CRISPR/Cas9 works and what these powerful advances in digital biology could mean for the planet
    – Identify current roadblocks threatening to hamper innovation
    – Track exciting breakthroughs and ongoing progress
    – Envision the benefits and confront the challenges that gene editing will bring to society in the near future
    – Position yourself to explore many current and emerging applications of gene editing

  • Hands-on Experience: CRISPR

    Gene editing technologies like CRISPR/Cas9 are rapidly revolutionizing how we precisely and permanently alter the DNA of living things—including humans. In this workshop, you will use CRISPR to change the genome of the bacterium Escherichia coli so that the cells are resistant to the antibiotic streptomycin. By the end of the workshop, you will see that the digitization of the information of life through DNA sequencing combined with precise bioengineering via CRISPR empowers us to recode living systems…which is not always easy. (Two sessions separated by at least one overnight)

  • Hands-on Experience: Reprogramming Life

    Just as computers store information as 0s and 1s, on Earth, living systems store information in DNA. This paradigm suggests that living systems are just that: systems that can be “programmed” by altering their DNA “algorithms.” Synthetic biologists are exploring exciting designs for DNA circuits that transform living cells into microscopic sensors, factories, or agents. Here, you will reprogram living cells to explore this paradigm. Specifically, you will add a snippet of code to the genome of the bacterium Escherichia coli: the DNA sequence for a protein from jellyfish that glows yellow. By the end of the workshop, you will see that the digitization of the information of life through DNA sequencing and bioengineering empowers us to harness living systems to perform specific tasks. (Two sessions separated by at least one overnight)

  • Hands-on Experience: What Lives on You?

    Our germophobic cultures have probably trained you to believe that bacteria are disgusting—and dangerous! But in the past few years it’s become clear that bacteria are essential parts of the human body. By examining the bacteria that cover you—your own personal skin microbiome—we extract actionable insights from our current understanding of how the microbiome impacts our health and wellness.

  • Longevity: hope, hype, and technology

    The global average life expectancy has more than doubled in the last hundred years. What can we expect in the next hundred years? Cut through the hype and fantasy to explore the technologies and scientific advances that are radically transforming the human life span—and its quality. What financial, social, and ethical challenges must we prepare to face as humans live ever longer? And what decisions can we make now to ensure that we live not just longer lives, but better ones?
    In this session, you will:
    Understand the basic biomedical challenges in further extending human life
    Explore convergent technologies that are contributing to breakthroughs in longevity
    Identify the warning signs of unjustified hype around longevity
    Encounter the opportunities and challenges around longevity, at the level of individuals, societies, and civilization
    Position yourself to continue exploring this innovation space
    Prepare yourself, your family, and your organization for a world in which the human lifespan is radically longer.

  • Programming life: an innovation activity

    Just as computers store information as strings of 0s and 1s, on Earth, living systems store information in DNA. Excitingly, this paradigm of “DNA as information” suggests that living systems are just that: systems that can be “programmed” by altering their DNA “algorithms.” In this activity, participants become bioengineers, brainstorming ways to turn life into “technologies” for sensing, manufacturing, therapeutic, and other applications. This exercise reveals the power of including the life technologies in moonshot thinking, and exposes ethical, regulatory, environmental, and moral issues that come along with these revolutionary advances.

  • The Future of Stem Cells: Programmable, Personalized, and Profound

    Recent advances in technologies for obtaining and programming stem cells are poised to revolutionize research, agriculture, and medicine. Although these advances have eliminated many of the technical—and ethical—challenges that previously prevented the wide use of stem cells, the future promises to be profoundly impacted by their application.
    Join Dr. Tiffany Vora as we explore the frontiers of stem-cell research and application, and dive into the ethical, cultural, and moral impacts of stem cell-based technologies.
    In this session, you will:
    Understand the power of recent advances in stem-cell technologies;
    Identify problem spaces and companies to watch;
    Prepare to confront the benefits and challenges that stem cell-based technologies will bring to society in the near future; and
    Position yourself for continued immersive exploration into stem cells and their applications across industries.

  • The Microbiome: The Hidden Abundance of You

    Exponential advances in digital biology-enabled technologies have revealed that we are more than human: each of our bodies contains a personalized and dynamic ecosystem of bacteria, fungi, and viruses known as the microbiome. Early research into the microbiome has uncovered tantalizing links with human health and behavior, suggesting that the microbiome constitutes a novel “tuning knob” for individualized wellness. As microbiome research and applications come to maturity in the next few years, we will see an explosion of personalized nutrition products and smart technology-enabled devices and apps to improve agriculture, energy production, and human health—on a global scale.
    In this session, you will:
    Recognize yourself as a more-than-human ecosystem
    Identify strategies for optimizing your microbiome to improve your health
    Confront major near-term challenges to human health that stem from—and can be solved with—bacteria
    Explore convergent innovation spaces that harness the microbiome as a tuning knob for health and wellness, including human medicine, agriculture, and global health
    Strategize for using the microbiome to positively impact a billion lives.

  • Write science fiction to design your future

    Science fiction is more than creative expression: it is an empowering craft for digging into possible futures—as well as the opportunities and roadblocks on the way to those futures. Embracing a maker mindset around crafting science fiction (or speculative fiction, or future fiction) enables a fun and safe environment for asking and potentially answering hard questions about the future(s). How will you harness science fiction to positively impact a billion lives?
    In this session, you will:
    Explore the impact of storytelling and fiction on our visions of and goals for the future.
    Embrace future/science fiction as a “makerspace” for blueprinting and ultimately building desired future(s).
    Practice rapid, small-scale fiction writing with a future focus.
    Map your journey from dreaming, to writing, to making.

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