Our Mission:

To Understand the Blueprint of Life.
Home of GP-write and HGP-write.

GP-write is being implemented through a Center of Excellence for Engineering Biology, a new, independent nonprofit organization that is managing initial planning and coordination efforts. These efforts include supporting the formation and work of multi-institutional and interdisciplinary research teams working in a highly integrated fashion, responsive to and engaged with a broad public outreach.

The Center has created a neutral environment for international participants and will accept funding from the public, private, philanthropic and academic sectors, including international funding agencies. However, this in no way precludes direct grants and sponsored research agreements by government agencies and others to academic and industrial laboratories through more traditional mechanisms.

GP-write Leadership


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    Jef Boeke, Ph.D.

    Director, Institute for Systems Genetics
    Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology
    NYU Langone Medical Center

    Jef Boeke is the Founding Director of the Institute for Systems Genetics at NYU Langone Medical Center. He is known for work on mechanistic and genomic aspects of retrotransposition, and develops technologies in genetics, genomics and synthetic biology. He studied Biochemistry at Bowdoin College. Following this he spent a year as a Watson Fellow, collecting plants in the Andes. He obtained a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the Rockefeller University in 1982, where he worked on the genetics of filamentous phage assembly with Peter Model and Norton Zinder. He did postdoctoral work at MIT/Whitehead Institute on yeast/transposon genetics with Gerald Fink. He served on the faculty of the Department of Molecular Biology & Genetics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine from 1986-2014, where he also founded the High Throughput Biology Center. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and sciences and the National Academy of Science. He elucidated one of the major forms of DNA movement (transposition) in yeast cells, in which Ty1 elements move via reverse transcription of RNA. He coined the term retrotransposition to describe the process, which is common in virtually all eukaryotic genomes. His genetic and biochemical studies helped elucidate intricate molecular mechanisms involved in retrotransposition in yeasts, mammalian cells and mice. The Boeke laboratory has also constructed highly active synthetic retrotransposons as a probe of retrotransposition in cells and mice. He is leading the international team to synthesize an engineered version of the yeast genome, Sc2.0, the first synthetic eukaryotic genome. In his abundant spare time, when not keeping bees or sailing in Maine, he plays the dobro in the bluegrass band, The Southern Blots.

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    George Church, Ph.D.

    Founding Core Faculty Member,
    Wyss Institute at Harvard University
    Professor of Genetics,
    Harvard Medical School

    George Church George is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is Director of the U.S. Department of Energy Center on Bioenergy at Harvard and MIT and Director of the National Institutes of Health Center of Excellence in Genomic Science at Harvard. His 1984 Harvard PhD included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing & barcoding. These led to the first genome sequence (pathogen, Helicobacter pylori) in 1994. He helped initiate the Human Genome Project in 1984 and the Personal Genome Project in 2005. His innovations have contributed to nearly all “next generation” genome sequencing methods and companies (CGI, Life, Illumina, Nanopore). This plus chip-based DNA synthesis and stem cell engineering resulted in founding additional application-based companies spanning fields of medical diagnostics (Knome, Alacris, AbVitro, Pathogenica ) & synthetic biology / therapeutics (Joule, Gen9, Editas, Egenesis, enEvolv, WarpDrive). He has also pioneered new privacy, biosafety, environmental & biosecurity policies. His honors include election to NAS & NAE & Franklin Bower Laureate for Achievement in Science. He has coauthored 402 papers, 74 patents & one book (Regenesis).

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    Andrew Hessel

    Distinguished Researcher,
    Bio/Nano Research Group
    Autodesk Inc.

    Andrew Hessel is a catalyst in biological technologies, helping industry, academics, and authorities better understand the changes happening in life science. As an Autodesk Distinguished Researcher, he leads a multidisciplinary team exploring computer-aided design and manufacturing for biotechnology and nanotechnology R&D. He is also the co-founder of the Pink Army Cooperative, the world’s first cooperative biotechnology company, which is aiming to make open source viral therapies for cancer.

    Trained in microbiology and genetics, Andrew has continually worked at the forefront of genomics, first to read and comprehend bacterial, human, and other genomes and more recently to write them. He believes the technology that makes this possible, called synthetic biology, is revolutionary and that it will eventually surpass information technology (IT) as an economic engine and driver of societal change. He speaks widely on topics that include cells as living computers, life science as an emerging IT industry, and biological safety and security. Since 2009, Andrew has also been the co-chair of Bioinformatics and Biotechnology at the Singularity University, located at the NASA Research Park in Mountain View, California. There, he educates graduate students and executive participants on the disruptive shifts underway in life science and helps them become actively engaged in these changes. In November, 2011, he was appointed a fellow at the University of Ottawa, Institute for Science, Society, and Policy, focusing on how next-generation technologies shape society’s future. Andrew has given dozens of invited talks related to synthetic biology, for groups that include Autodesk Inc., the FBI, the United Nations Biological Weapons Convention Implementation Support Unit, TEDx, Intel Inc., the New America Foundation, Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, the Oil Sands Leadership Initiative, and Statoil.

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    Nancy J Kelley, J.D., M.P.P.

    President & CEO, Nancy J Kelley & Associates
    Former Founding Executive Director,
    New York Genome Center

    Nancy J. Kelley, President and CEO of Nancy J Kelley & Associates, is a nationally recognized executive and lawyer who has driven key strategic initiatives in science and medicine for over twenty years.

    Nancy J Kelley + Associates (NJK+A) builds things that matter for science and medicine in order to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems. Whether advancing translational genomic research that has the potential to cure human disease and improve quality of life or facilitating ways that we can feed, fuel and heal the world through technological innovation in biology, NJK+A is committed to delivering scientific and medical breakthroughs.

    In recent representative projects, Ms. Kelley led a multi-disciplinary team effort to launch an advanced diagnostics testing company for Roswell Park Cancer Institute, receiving $25 million in financing commitments. She also led a one-year sustainability initiative to develop a strategic action plan to advance the field of synthetic biology in the U.S. This initiative was co-funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Synberc (the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center). Subsequently, she developed a strategic assessment and organization/financial overview for a new Precision Wellness Research Institute emphasizing integrative medicine that incorporates mind-body practices to bring a holistic and proactive approach to healthcare. She is also working with the Global Biological Standards Institute on the development of global biological standards for research and partnered with the Biodesign Challenge to develop and launch the first biological competition that offers art and design students the opportunity to envision future applications of biology.

    Before these most recent endeavors, Ms. Kelley was the Founding Executive Director of the New York Genome Center. From its establishment in 2010 by its 11 Institutional Founding Members, she led the Center from a start-up to a fully operational, world class genomics research center and provider of cutting edge sequencing and bioinformatics services, raising $110 million to do so.

    Her prior leadership history includes work in scientific institutions, life science companies, and life science real estate development. She was a leader of the East River Science Park project in Manhattan and has overseen major development projects for clients such as the National Institutes of Health, Johns Hopkins University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston University/ Boston Medical Center.

    Ms. Kelley currently serves or has served on boards for the New York Genome Center, The Jackson Laboratory, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Whitehead Institute. Earlier in her career, Ms. Kelley was appointed a White House Fellow and Truman Scholar. She holds a BA in Economics from Yale College, a JD from Harvard Law School, and a MPP from the Harvard Kennedy School.

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    The Center serves as a vehicle for administration and funding, and may add capacity depending upon the design of the technology and infrastructure that may be required to support the project.

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    A Scientific Executive Committee of the Center, supported by scientific working groups, will set the scientific priorities for GP-write and supervise peer-reviewed research projects. The Center will enter into affiliation agreements with the major universities and philanthropies participating in GP-write. Acting as a coordinating center, it will support the formation and work of multi-investigator, interdisciplinary and multi-lateral research teams engaged in GP-write, working in a highly integrated fashion. It will also have a training and citizen science outreach component. This is similar to the way HGP-read was administered within the federal government.

    Dr. Jef Boeke from New York University Medical School, a geneticist and the lead designer/investigator of the Sc2.0 project, and Dr. George Church, from Harvard Medical School, geneticist/technologist behind the rE.coli project, are the scientific leaders of GP-write.

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    Key governance and operational issues for the Center will be worked out during the initial organizing and planning process for GP-write. This process is being led by Nancy J Kelley, JD/MPP, previously the Founding Executive Director of the New York Genome Center (NYGC), who has been leading a strategic planning process with the synthetic biology community since 2014. Wilmer Hale is assisting in these efforts.

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    The IT infrastructure for GP-write is being designed to foster large-scale collaborative science across international boundaries, institutions and scientific disciplines. Using the power of open networks to solve complex scientific problems, an open sourced, fully automated design, test, build platform will support the sharing of knowledge and expertise and large-scale pooling of data. Essentially, this platform will create a community hub designed to enhance communication and grow communities of scientists with diverse skill sets that can work together on the complex and diverse scientific problems that will need to be tackled in GP-write.

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    Intellectual property developed in GP-write will encourage broad access and use through the use of patent pooling and common Licensing Agreements.

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    Leading experts are also called on to consider the ethical, policy and public education components of GP-write in collaboration with the Center of Excellence in Engineering Biology. For example, the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars has been leading the Synthetic Biology Project following these issues for several years, supported by the Sloan Foundation. Other interested parties will be invited to join this effort as well.

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    Funding is expected to come from public, private, philanthropic, industry and academic sources from around the globe.

    Andrew Hessel, Distinguished Research Scientist at Autodesk and one of the leaders of this project, has obtained a leadership gift of $250,000 from Autodesk to seed the planning and launch of GP-write. As of May 2017, approximately $200 million in GP-write related funding has been made available across multiple institutions.



GP-write Featured Partners: