Cumbers, John, PhD

Synthetic Biologist, NASA Ames


John Cumbers received his Ph.D in the Graduate Program in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry at Brown University, Providence, RI. He has been working at NASA Ames since 2008 looking at the mechanisms of radiation resistance and cold tolerance in Antarctic cyanobacteria. John did his undergraduate in software engineering at the University of Hull and his MSc in bioinformatics from the University of Edinburgh both in the UK. John studies synthetic biology in extremophiles and works on the phylogenetics of radiation resistant Antarctic cyanobacteria. He is also interested in foundational synthetic biology and tools that make biology easier to engineer. At Brown, John founded the Brown iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) competition team in 2006. In 2007 he designed and taught the undergraduate class “Synthetic Biological Systems” and developed ideas to design organisms for biological in situ resource utilization in space.

Interview with John (published May)

Listen to an interview with John (published May 2017): Over a $1 Billion Invested in the Past Year: Synthetic Biology 2017 with John Cumbers

Listen to an interview with John

John Cumbers Previews SynBioBeta 2013