ESP Biography

WILLIAM OWENS, First-Year MIT Biology Graduate Student

Major: Biology

College/Employer: MIT

Year of Graduation: G

Picture of William Owens

Brief Biographical Sketch:

William received his undergraduate degrees in Microbiology and Computer Science at the University of Florida. Before coming to MIT, he spent 2 years as a Synthetic Biology Research Associate at Octant, a Bay Area drug discovery startup. At Octant, his work spanned all layers of the synthetic biology stack (including reporter design, assay development, cell engineering, and bioinformatics) to help the company find cures to complex disease.

At MIT, William hopes to better understand the complexity of living systems. One day, he hopes to launch a startup of his own that leverages the unparalleled power of biology.

Past Classes

  (Clicking a class title will bring you to the course's section of the corresponding course catalog)

S15171: Synthetic Biology: How Scientists Program Cells to Make and Discover New Drugs in Splash 2022 (Nov. 19 - 20, 2022)
How can scientists hack yeasts into making psychoactive drugs? How can we reprogram cancer cells to help us study neurological disease? In the past twenty years, synthetic biology has profoundly impacted scientific research and created a rapidly growing, multi-billion dollar industry. But what is "synthetic biology" and how does it work? This course will begin with a background on molecular biology and explain the basic principles behind many common biological engineering tools. From there, students will learn the ways that scientists can reprogram bacteria, yeast, and human cells to create new technologies. Finally, we will study a few fascinating examples of cutting-edge synbio applications, with emphasis on drug discovery.