Biotech • Exponential Organizations • Exponentials • Medicine • Space-Industry • Digital Biology • Microbiome
Tiffany Vora is an educator, writer, research scientist, and entrepreneur who is excited to bring her diversity of experience to Singularity University as Principal Faculty in 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.
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.
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.
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)
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)
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.