Pamela Silver

Pamela Silver

Principal Investigator

Pamela Silver is the Elliot T and Onie H Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School. She is also a full member of the Wyss Institute of Biologically Inspired Engineering. She was one of the first members of the Department of Systems Biology and the first Director of the Harvard University Graduate Program in Systems Biology.

Read more here.

Jeffrey Way

Jeffrey Way

Senior Staff Scientist

Jeff’s current research interests are in therapeutic protein development and bioenergy. As a senior staff scientist at the Wyss, he is also supporting faculty-driven efforts in DNA synthesis and DNA assembly. Before coming to the Wyss, he was Director of Structural Biology and Director of Intellectual Property at EMD Serono, a major protein-focused pharmaceutical company, where he designed protein drugs. Previously, he was a Director of Intellectual Property and Director of Communications there. He has published numerous articles on drug development, synthetic biology, nervous system development, and bacterial genetics, and holds several patent applications and issued patents. He received his Ph.D. and B.A from Harvard University.

Elizabeth Libby

Elizabeth Libby

Departmental Fellow, Systems Biology

PhD Physics, University of Pennsylvania
BS Physics, Stanford University

Elizabeth is interested in how bacterial populations regulate antibiotic tolerance and the appearance of rare cells with extreme phenotypes. She is currently designing new ways to measure bacterial signaling system activity.

Postdoctoral Fellows


Bryan Hsu

Ph.D. and M.S. Chemistry, MIT

B.S. Chemical Engineering, UC Berkeley

B.S. Materials Science and Engineering, UC Berkeley

Has worked in the fields of surface science, antimicrobial coatings, biomaterials, and controlled drug delivery. Now studying bacteriophages of the human gut and engineering formulations for their oral delivery.


David Riglar

Human Frontier Science Program Postdoctoral Fellow 2015

NHMRC – RG Menzies Postdoctoral Fellow 2014

PhD Malaria Cell Biology, University of Melbourne

BSc (Hons) Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Melbourne

David is a postdoc interested in the potential for synthetic biology to help us to better understand human disease. He is currently working to design diagnostics of gut disease.  Profile here.


James Kuo

PhD Chemical Engineering, Stanford

BS Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Amateur still trying to turn pro. Looking at controlling and recoding cells, after previously playing with natural product biosynthesis. Hoping to imagine again.



Kelsey Sakimoto

Harvard University Center for the Environment Fellow 2016

PhD Chemistry, UC Berkeley

BS Chemical Engineering, Yale University

Kelsey is a reformed materials chemist that has embraced the wet and squishy world of biology. He’s very much against the idea of starving and is currently devoting his time to finding nifty science-y ways around that.

Michael Melfi

Ph.D. Chemistry, Stanford University

B.S. Biological Sciences, Cornell University

Interested in the connections between energy dissipation and accuracy of biochemical networks and oscillators, as well as in engineering low-cost networks in cells.



Roger Larken Chang

Life Sciences Research Foundation Fellow 2014

PhD Bioinformatics and Systems Biology, UC San Diego

BA Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley

Engineering synthetic RNA nanostructures that self-assemble in bacterial cells. Developed landmark model for structural systems biology of metabolism and applying towards study of radioresistance in D. radiodurans. Profile here.


Shannon Nangle

2017 NIH F32 NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow

Ph.D. Pharmacology, University of Washington

Shannon is a postdoc interested in creating human-plant hybrids to live on Mars (but is totally not working on that).


Tobias Giessen

Leopoldina Postdoctoral Fellow 2014

PhD Biochemistry, Philipps-University Marburg

M.S. Chemistry, Philipps-University Marburg

Enzymology, Combinatorial Biosynthesis, Compartmetalization in Bacteria, Synthetic Metabolons and Bio-Inorganic Hybrid Materials


Yu Heng Lau

Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow 2015

PhD Chemistry, University of Cambridge

Yu Heng is a new postdoc and lapsed organic chemist with an interest in metabolic engineering and genome recoding.

Erika Olson 

Ph.D. Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute

A.B. Chemistry, Cornell University

Erika is a former peptide chemist interested in improving human-environmental relations. She is currently investigating how viruses play Jedi mind tricks on their host. 

Graduate Students


Isaac Plant

 Ph.D. Candidate in Bioengineering

M.Sc. in Philosophy and Public Policy, London School of Economics and Political Science

Isaac’s work focuses on harnessing the unique biology of cyanobacteria to construct new microbial engineering paradigms. He is also interested in the policy and ethics of biological research, and has far more opinions than is generally considered healthy.


Andy Shumaker

 Andy studies the gut microbiota and probiotic bacteria. He enjoys exploring the outdoors, playing sports, making beer and eating croissants.


Emma Spady

PhD Candidate in Chemical Biology

B.A. Biochemistry, Swarthmore College

Emma is currently synthesizing novel steroids in mammalian cells by combining enzymes from different animals, bacteria, and fungi. In her spare time, she sings in the Dudley House choir and hangs around art museums.


Finn Stirling

Finn is a student from the UK, and is interested in making sure the stuff that comes out of you is dead and has no friends. I am looking to recruit undergrads or anyone else to help me in this endeavor.


Jernej Turnšek

PhD Candidate in Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Diploma in Biotechnology, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Jernej is interested in understanding the molecular mechanisms behind intricate nanoscale patterning of naturally occurring biomaterials. He can dunk, collects vinyl records and trains to become an Ironman. More about Jernej.


Jungmin Lee

B.S. Chemistry, Duke University

Jungmin is a graduate student in the Chemistry and Chemical Biology Program. She is interested in protein therapeutics and mammalian synthetic biology.


Katherine Redfield

M.D. Candidate, Harvard Medical School

Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology (HST)

BS Mathematics, MIT

Katie may be no Doogie Howser, but she’s still full of pep about her second career as a budding physician-scientist. She would love to talk your ear off about fusion proteins, dancing and the best coffee shops to camp out in. Her enthusiasm is fueled by a diet of red bull and leftover conference room pizza.


Marika Ziesack

Marika is a Graduate Student in the Biological and Biomedical Science Program. She works on engineering microbes for renewable production of chemicals.


Nathan Rollins

Nathan is investigating the molecular events that enable conditional behavior in biological systems. He is adding layers of requirement to proteins that function in these systems so they may only act when specific circumstances are met. Particularly, he is teaching cytokines when to pull the trigger on cell death.


Sarabeth Buckley

NSF Fellow

B.S. in Biology and Environmental Science, Tufts University

A plant chemist escaping geology to synthetic biology, Sarabeth is fascinated by plant microbial interactions and driven to address climate change. She wants to enhance plant growth and sequester CO2 with the bionic leaf and protein microcompartments. When not biking between campuses, she can be found running, dancing, or baking crazy cakes.


Sasha Naydich

Ph.D. Student in Bioengineering

B.S. Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University

 Sasha is interested in engineering gut microorganisms to diagnose and treat infection and disease, as well as the translation of discoveries from the lab to real-world application. Outside the lab, Sasha enjoys hiking, skiing, and mountain biking. Profile here.


Suhyun Kim

Suhyun is engineering gut bacteria to perform useful functions in humans. She enjoys dancing Rock’n’Roll and Zumba.

Yukiye Koide 

Yukiye is a recent Harvard graduate with a degree in Biomedical Engineering. She is currently working on ~virus stuff~ and hopes to eventually get a graduate degree in bioengineering. In her spare time, she relives her college days and joins the Harvard Band in cheering various sports teams to victory.

Florian Bieberich

Florian is investigating how viral proteins interact with the innate immune response. Further, he is interested in the field of protein fusion and synthesis. In his free time Florian plays squash, trains for a triathlon and enjoys good old vinyl records.


 Kira Sarup-Lytzen

Kira is a visiting Ph.D. student from Denmark working with Finn to expand the catalogue of conditional kill switches in E. coli. Outside the lab, Kira enjoys hanging out at breakfast & coffee places with good people, and being outside with sunglasses on as soon as the sun appears.

Daniel Loh 

PhD Candidate in Chemistry and Chemical Biology

BS Chemistry, Yale University

Dan (not to be confused with Dan) is interested in renewable chemistry and is even more interested in getting microbes to do it for him. He also thinks self-replicating cyborg bacteria would be cool.

Nathalie Gruber

Nathalie is working with Elizabeth and Isaac on building living sequence sensors. She wants to artificially increase the natural competence of bacterial cells to efficiently uptake DNA samples. Her interests are various like dancing, painting and e-guitar but she is mostly seeking for new adventures and challenges.



Research Staff


Andrew Verdegaal

BS and MA Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology at UC Santa Barbara

Andy is working on engineering and utilizing bacteria as diagnostic and therapeutic tools in order to combat disease. He enjoys rowing, hiking, and even the exposure to true winter weather.


Kathleen Buhl

Lab Manager

Kathy has been managing the Silver lab since 2006. When she’s not whipping the Silverinos into shape, she plays hockey and enjoys hiking. She’s recently discovered her spirit animal is the squirrel.



Aashna Shah

Aashna is currently a high school student from Long Island, NY. Her interest in modeling engineered protein therapeutics brought her to the Silver lab, where she was mentored by the great Avi Robinson-Mosher. When Aashna’s not experimenting in the lab or sitting in homeroom, she enjoys taking kickboxing classes, cooking vegetarian meals, and streaming artist documentaries from Da Vinci to Dali.


Ashton Omdahl

Ashton is a summer intern in the Silver Lab and a rising senior at Brigham Young University. He is studying currently bioinformatics, math, and music and is mentored by the bioinformatics wizard Roger Chang. When he’s not staring at his computer screen, he’s either eating or training for a triathlon.


Disha Trivedi

Disha is a Harvard undergraduate who has experimented with studying everything from computer science to screenwriting before deciding on chemical and physical biology. She works with Shannon, Andy, David, and Sasha on engineering bacteria as living diagnostic tools. Some of her favorite things are breakfast, running along the Charles, and the great state of California.


Elizabeth Redfield

Elly is a Biological Engineering major at Cornell where she makes 3D scaffolds for artificial intestines. During her summer internship, she is exploring the much smaller worlds of controlling the growth of intestinal microbes with Finn and engineering ant toxins for targeted cells lysis and labeling with Nathan.  She spends her free time riding busses headed in the wrong direction, running stadiums, and consuming copious quantities of carrots.


Lorena Lyon

Lorena is an undergraduate working with Bryan Hsu on engineering phage for her senior thesis. A few, but not all, of her favorite things are raspberries, art museums, Wikipedia, and the Oxford comma.



Nicholas Wong

Nick is a Harvard undergrad working on encapsulin nano compartments with Wiggert and Toby. Beyond understanding how targeting peptides work, his main goal in lab is not accidentally setting the lab on fire. He also enjoys music, exercise, and overpriced-but-aesthetically-pleasing coffee shops.


Samuel O’Keefe

Sam is a current undergraduate at Vassar College in the obscure town of Poughkeepsie, NY (yes, it’s more fun to pronounce this town name phonetically). This summer he is working with Finn on studying toxin/antitoxin systems, and manipulating various environmentally-sensitive promoters in E. coli to control bacterial survival and death. Sam is considering an International Studies and French double major with a biology correlate (he has trouble making decisions), and yearns to eventually pursue a career in global health. Outside of lab, he enjoys writing, playing piano, going on adventures, and most importantly, getting swol at the gym. Peanut butter, murder mysteries, and dogs are among his many passions.


Sherry Gao

Sherry Gao is a rising Pokémon trainer who is honing her skills as an undergrad at Harvard College. She is currently working with Alina and Clovis to “science,” whatever that may be, as well as training to beat the Elite Four. In her free time, she is working on developing a sonic screwdriver, and she likes writing more than people. She doesn’t like writing.

Recent Alumni


Alina Chan

Human Frontier Postdoctoral Fellow 2015

NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow 2015 – gratefully declined

Alina Canadaborn of House Chan, Disruptor of Biology, PhD of Molecular Biology, Postdoc of Synthetic Biology, Fellow of the Human Frontier Science Program, Lady Regnant of Mammalian Cell Lines, Protector of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Guardian of lncRNAs, Breaker of Glassware, and Mother of Human Artificial Chromosomes. Bio.


Jessica Polka

Director of ASAPbio

Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow 2013

PhD Biochemistry, UCSF

BS Biology UNC-CH

Jessica is a visiting fellow working on polymerization in bacteria and the organization of the bacterial cell. Personal website:



Connor Horton

Connor is a junior in Winthrop House at Harvard studying molecular and cellular biology. He’s helping Yu Heng save the world by recoding the salmonella genome. When not in the lab, he can be found on stage singing with the Harvard Glee Club or buying used books he’ll never read. Connor loves the department’s espresso machine.



John Oliver

Ph.D. UC Davis

John is a postdoc working on advanced DNA design for human and human-symbiont cell engineering. Formerly involved in metabolic engineering of photosynthetic bacteria, his goal is to provide transformative technology using self-replicating cells.


Alan Pacheco

PhD Student in Bioinformatics, Boston University

B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Boston University

Alan is a graduate student based out of the lab of Daniel Segrè. He works on modeling engineered bacterial interactions and wants to find out how to keep your gut microbes from turning against you. He hopes the results will somehow advise eating large quantities of tacos.


Leon Liu

PhD Candidate in applied physics (SEAS)

M.Phil. physics University of Cambridge

B.S. applied physics Caltech

 Biophysics. Bioinorganics. Biomagnetism. synthetic nanobiotechnology for health and energy


Ryan Richardson

Ryan studies cytokine signaling and alternative splicing in mammalian cells using engineered systems.


Stephanie Hays

Ph.D. candidate Harvard Systems Biology

B.S. & M.Sc. Biochemistry/Biophysics Renssealer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

Pond scum is gorgeous, photosynthesis is powerful, and symbiosis is both unavoidable and delightful so Steph studies the intersection of all three. Steph is interested in carnivorous plants, crustaceans (including her home in the Cray Bay), and improving education.


 Brendan Colón

NSF Fellow

PhD Candidate in Systems Biology

Bioinformatician and bench monkey. Interested in surmounting difficult chemical transformations using renewable energy sources. Denizen of the Cray Bay.


Kriti Lall

Kriti is a Harvard undergraduate majoring in Chemical and Physical Biology. She’s currently helping Marika on the microbial consortium project, and working on engineering cyanobacteria to remove toxic metals from water. When she’s not in lab, she enjoys playing her ukelele, eating way too much ice cream, and getting way too little sleep.


Michael Baym

Michael is a refugee postdoc from the Kishony Lab. He “borrows” lab supplies to make superbugs and trouble.


Joshua Grossman

Josh is an undergrad at Harvard studying integrative biology. He is working with Alina on a CRISPR knockout program to increase expression of proteins from transfected plasmids. When he is out of the lab, Josh enjoys running, video games, and contemplative rap music.


Marta Tomaselli

I have done both my Bachelor in Biotechnology and my Master in Molecular Biotechnology at University of Pisa-Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, in Pisa, Italy. My “research interests” are basically genetic engineering and synthetic biology in plants, but here I’m trying a little bit of bacteria, especially gut bacteria. Outside the lab I do love dancing (as shown in the picture ^^), ballroom dancing especially, cooking and traveling!




Una Choi

Una is a Harvard undergraduate studying Molecular and Cellular Biology and English. She is currently working with Alina and Ryan on manipulating KO cell lines for enhanced protein expression and on constructing memory devices in mammalian cells. She is a big fan of movie soundtracks and can often be found jamming out to John Williams.


Avi Robinson-Mosher

 NIH F32 NRSA Postdoctoral Fellow

PhD Computer Science, Stanford

Former hydrodynamicist turned coarse-grained protein modeler and anti-cancer targeted therapeutics engineer.  Developed constrained Brownian dynamics software tool for modeling behavior of multi-domain engineered proteins.


Devin Burrill

Devin Burrill is an NIH post-doctoral fellow at the Wyss Institute, working in the labs of Jim Collins (MIT) and Pam Silver (Harvard). Her main scientific interests are in protein engineering, drug development, and commercialization.


Matthew Robinson

Matt is an undergraduate chemistry major at Yale. He betrayed his Bulldog origins to come to Harvard for the summer and study radioresistant bacteria with Roger. Outside the lab, Matt enjoys fishing, hiking, and wasting his height on sports that aren’t basketball.


Matthew Niederhuber

Matthew studies the cyanobacterial carboxysome, its structure, biogenesis, and potential synthetic applications. He is also involved in the lab’s ongoing work engineering bacteria to perform diagnostic and therapeutic functions in the human gut. He is interested in developing novel biological systems to address environmental and global health issues, and hopes to earn his PhD in Bioengineering.


Cameron Myhrvold

PhD Candidate in Systems Biology

Cameron is a SysBio graduate student, Hertz fellow, and member of the Cray Bay. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, cookies, and bears.



Clovis Basier

Clovis is a Master’s student in synthetic and systems biology. As a respectable Frenchman, he loves cheese, baguette, wine, and above all, sailing. His main interests are genome engineering and artificial chromosomes design.


Kevin Hof

While taking a break on developing the next big thing since sliced bread, Kevin is focused on protein engineering and drug development, working on… Can I tell this? “Pfah, no one in this lab knows how patents work!”- Pam


Michiel Karrenbelt

Michiel’s individual development plan pegged him for (1) a sales rep and (2) a principal investigator. He is super nice and will give you his only piece of Lindt chocolate.


David Lips

The most recent addition to the Dutch student conclave secretly infiltrating the Silver Lab. David bikes around Boston as if he’s still in Amsterdam while working on quorum sensing and making synthetic biology design software accessible to all of mankind.



Gladys Kibunyi

Gladys is an undergraduate working with Ryan R. on alternative splicing in mammalian cells.  She enjoys good food, outdoor activities and HGTV.


Johannes Bues

Johannes is involved in whole genome sequencing of gut bacteria strains and tries to find new sensory inputs for bacterial memory systems. In his spare time he likes to engineer machines he yet has to discover the use for.


Joost Verduijn

Joost is a currently finishing his Masters in medical biotechnology at the Wageningen University. His research interest is based on the (possible) application of medical research. Therefore he works on an synthetic design to make a more efficient EPO treatment for patients with anemia. Favorite sport of Joost is, and always will be basketball (although his height is the dutch average).


Drew MacKellar

PhD Molecular Biology, UW Seattle

B.S. Biology, Oberlin College

Drew has worked on Shewanella, Saccharomyces, and not-Streptomyces. He’s also left-handed. Profile here.



Audam Chhun

Audam’s primary mentors include the hippogriff and griffon that taught him about biology and math, respectively. He is currently investigating promoter functions though he makes time to mediate the passionate debates between his spirit guides.


Thomas Perli

B.S. & M.Sc. Biomolecular Sciences and Technology/Cellular and Molecular Biotechnology, Center for Integrative Biology, Trento, Italy

 Microbial and in vitro Synthetic Biology are his main interests. In his spare time, Thomas loves snowboarding and cooking authentic Italian food.



Tyler J Ford

During his tenure at the Silver Lab Tyler worked on engineering the bacterium E. coli for the production of biofuel precursors. He is currently employed as an outreach scientist at Addgene Inc.



Lauren Kennedy

Lauren is a young padawan who has assisted Silverino jedis engineer pathways for the production of biofuel precursors in E. coli and synthetic memory circuits in E. coli and yeast. She enjoys baked good Wednesdays.


Matthew Mattozzi

Dr. Mattozzi’s research focused on the engineering of catabolic pathways for increasing biomass growth, the formation of valuable bioproducts, and the degradation of toxic pesticides and nerve agents.  He was a Department of Energy ARPA-E Fellow at Harvard University and founder of two startup companies. Personal website:


Wade Hicks

Wade is a senior research fellow at the Wyss Institute. His work focuses mainly on the design and development of biological applications capable of utilizing the massive diversity produced from next generation DNA synthesis. Wade works collaboratively with the Silver lab on two major projects: 1) development of polycistronic protein expression technology in mammalian cells and 2) engineering novel bacterial plasmid origins of replication.


Anna Chen

Anna studied cyanobacterial carbon fixation, using microscopy to visualize the carboxysome. She also engineered a synthetic circadian clock in E. coli, utilizing components from the cyanobacterial clock. Currently, she is studying cellular aging in Edward Marcotte’s group. Outside of science, she enjoys ballroom dancing and food adventures.


Buz Barstow

Buz’s work focuses on the intersection of synthetic biology, chemistry, physics and renewable energy. You can find out more at his website.



Wiggert Altenburg

Wiggert is a Dutch master student working on the cargo loading of Encapsulins. Outside of the lab, he plays guitar and likes to go to concerts.


Pia Mach

Pia is a German master student in Biochemistry and she is interested in viral proteins, the innate immune response and mammalian synthetic biology. Outside the lab, she enjoys hiking, cooking and playing volleyball.

Takashi Imada 

Takashi is a Japanese visiting master student from TokyoTech and works
for Cell Painting
with mammalian cells. He studied pharmaceutical science in his
undergraduate days. Now, he has
a strong interest in creating life and combination of molecular biology
with other disciplines.
His hobby is Japanese archery and his career is six years. However his
hitting ratio is moderate.
He hopes to hit the bull’s-eye in his research.


Elena Schafer

Elena is a German student, working on metabolic engineering and genome recoding of gut microbes.



Max Van der Ploeg 

I am a Dutch Biotechnology student interested in the crazy and wonderful field of synthetic biology. I am working on biological memory using phage elements. In my spare time, I love to do (board) games, reading, cooking and exploring Boston


Michael Tscherner

FWF Schrödinger Program Postdoctoral Fellow 2016

PhD Genetics and Microbiology, University of Vienna

MSc Microbiology, University of Graz

I am interested in the use of synthetic biology approaches to counteract fungal infections. I am working on the engineering of gut bacteria to diagnose and treat infections caused by the fungal pathogen Candida albicans.

Nabeel Nissar

Nabeel is a Boston University masters student in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology. He is interested in the application of synthetic biology to investigate human disease processes. Nabeel is working with Sasha to improve the use of memory element bacteria to detect signals in the gut. His interests include photography, biking, and The Wire.