40. Dr.John Cumbers
Opera In Space
John Cumbers has been working as a synthetic biologist at NASA Ames since 2008 where he was instrumental in starting NASA’s Synthetic Biology Program and where he co-chaired the first workshop on the applications of synthetic biology to NASA’s mission. John has a Ph.D in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University and studied the mechanisms of radiation resistance and cold tolerance in cyanobacteria from extreme environments. His work is now in the area of bioelectrosynthesis (using electricity as an energy source to fuel biological metabolism) and food production. John is passionate about mission design and biological in situ resource utilization in space. In 2006 I founded the Brown iGEM team (International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition) and designed and taught undergraduate classes in synthetic biology at Brown University. John has an undergraduate degree in Software Engineering from the University of Hull in England and an M.Sc in Bioinformatics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.