Tim Lu

Biological engineering—the nexus between computer programming and medicine

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About Tim Lu

Synthetic biologist Timothy Lu draws on his combined expertise in computer programming, electrical engineering, and microbiology to engineer novel characteristics and behaviors into cells and microbes. He has also developed novel technology platforms to interrogate and correct diseased cell states, a process that has the potential to contribute to the development of exciting new therapies applicable to a range of pathologies. Considered one of the founding fathers of synthetic biology, Tim is a core member of the Synthetic Biology Group at MIT and has co-founded several startups focused on creating new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies, including Sample6, Senti Biosciences, Synlogic, Eligo Biosciences, BiomX, and Engine Biosciences. He is a recipient of numerous awards for his work, including the NIH New Innovator Award and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

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About This Talk

Tim Lu was motivated to make the switch from programming electrical computers to programming biological computers because he felt “we were on the cusp of a revolution". Today, the feeling of growth in the field of bioengineered medicine is still palpable. As Tim says, “Our raw ability to read DNA and write DNA is accelerating at an exponential pace, in some cases even faster than computers have developed, and this is going to lead to a democratization and an acceleration of biological programming.”

Tim uses his extensive background in computer programming, electrical engineering and microbiology to engineer cells to act as living therapeutics. Watch his TEDMED 2018 Talk to learn more about his work in bioengineered medicine and what he believes we need to bring programming for bioengineered medicine to the next level.

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