John Cumbers Ph.D., is the founder of SynBioBeta, an activity hub for synthetic biology startup companies, industry and investors.  He received his PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University. He has a masters degree in bioinformatics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and an undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of Hull in England. In 2005, he founded the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines competition) team at Brown University, was an iGEM ambassador to China in 2006/2007 and worked at NASA for 7 years in the field of synthetic biology and resource utilization in space. At NASA he led partnerships to bring new technologies to bear on sustainability challenges on Earth and in space.  In 2010, John was the recipient of a National Academies Keck Futures Initiative award to hold a workshop on the role that synthetic biology could play in NASA’s missions. John on LinkedIn, SynBioBetaTwitter.

Karl Schmieder M.S./M.F.A., is an award-winning writer and founder and CEO of messagingLab, a strategy and marketing communications firm that has worked with life science leaders for the past 15 years. Karl speaks regularly on strategic and communications issues faced by life science and technology startups. He received his MS in Biochemistry from UC Riverside and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Naropa Institute. He is an active member of Brooklyn’s community labspace, GenSpace. Karl’s writings have been featured in the the Journal of Commercial Biotechnology, Life Science Leader, and the Silicon Alley Reporter. Karl on LinkedIn, messagingLAB, Twitter.