John Cumbers PhD

A super connector, community builder and consultant, John Cumbers PhD has devoted himself to helping improve and gain the resources needed for success in breaking through scientific boundaries. Cumbers has been involved in multiple start-ups, including one that produces food for space using microbes to extract lunar and martian resources. Meanwhile, he was instrumental in starting NASA’s program in synthetic biology, and most recently led Planetary Sustainability at the NASA Ames Space Portal where he worked on sustainability issues of resource utilization, extremophiles, and sustainable technologies.

While at NASA, Cumbers took on the role of Director of Product at Arx Pax, and led a multi-million dollar Kickstarter campaign to launch a maglev hover board. In 2010, John was the recipient of a National Academies Keck Futures Initiative award for helping to increase the role synthetic biology could play in NASA’s missions.

His passion about education and the increased use and adoption of biological technologies shines through in his education. A PhD in molecular biology from Brown University, a Master’s degree in bioinformatics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and an undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of Hull in England showcase his years of experience in BioTech. In 2005, Cumbers founded the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines competition) team at Brown University and served as iGEM ambassador to China from 2006-2007.


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