Dr. Tiffany Vora

Dr. Tiffany Vora

Faculty Director & Vice Chair, Digital Biology & Medicine

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Areas of Expertise

Space-Industry  •  Exponentials  •  Exponential Organizations  •  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 Director 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 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; her biology expertise encompasses fields as diverse as the microbiome, ancient molecules, biophysics, environmental monitoring, tissue engineering, biohacking, and the quantitative analysis of large biological datasets.

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.

What can cat mummies teach us about ancient aliens? | Ask An Expert

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

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

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.

  • Digital Biology: Reading, Writing, and Making 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Hacking Life's Source Code: The Current State of Gene Editing

    Learn How Gene Editing Can Revolutionize Industries and Transform Our Lives

    In Singularity University’s first episode of ‘Experts On Air’, we focus on the development of powerful new technologies that enable the precise modification of the source code of life — DNA.

    Join Dr. Tiffany Vora for an in-depth discussion on transformative breakthroughs in gene editing such as CRISPR/Cas9 and discover how they may bring exponential change to medicine, agriculture and space exploration.

    In this talk, 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 the many applications of gene editing

    Whether you’re an SU community member with a background in genetics, an entrepreneur interested in staying on top of scientific innovation — or you’re just curious about technological trends and how they can be harnessed to help humanity — Dr. Tiffany Vora will provide you with an eye-opening view into the abundant future of digital biology.

  • 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.

  • 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 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. These technologies, such as CRISPR/Cas9, have applications that span medicine, agriculture, space, and other Global Grand Challenges areas, and are revolutionizing humanity’s power to impact the world around us. We’ll explore the current state of gene-editing technologies, the current roadblocks to progress, and how we can prepare ourselves to innovate while confronting important ethical and moral challenges.

  • 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.

    Dr. Tiffany Vora explores 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 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: Programming the Future from the Inside Out

    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.

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