Interdisciplinary biologist, writer, educator, and artist
Postdoctoral researcher, University of California, Los Angeles
Advisor: Pamela Silver
Thesis: “Biological Design Principles for Synthetic Biology”
Magna Cum Laude, with distinction in major
Postdoctoral Researcher, UCLA
Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology
Fellow, UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts
Postdoctoral Researcher, UCLA
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
A project bringing together synthetic biologists, designers,
artists, and social scientists to explore collaborations
between synthetic biology, art, and design.
Graduate Researcher, Harvard Medical School
Department of Systems Biology
Undergraduate Research Assistant, Yale University
Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Undergraduate Research Assistant, Harvard Medical School
Department of Molecular Biology
Organized and mentored UCLA's first iGEM team.
Instructor, UCLA High School Summer Program
Lecturer, “Molecular Biotechnology for Engineers”
Co-taught with James Liao
Lecturer for Harvard Medical School science outreach lecture series.
Lectures on food, fuels, and the origin of life.
Instructor, “Synthetic Biology”
Angus AA, Agapakis CM, Fong S, Yerrapragada S, Estrada-de los Santos P, Yang P, Song N, Kano S, Caballero-Mellado J, de Faria SM, Dakora FD, Weinstock G, and Hirsch AM. "Plant-Associated Symbiotic Burkholderia Species Lack Hallmark Strategies Required in Mammalian Pathogenesis." PLOS ONE, 2014, 9(1), e83779.
Kaplan D, Maymon M, Agapakis CM, Lee A, Wang A, Prigge BA, Volkogon M, and Hirsch AM. “A Survey of the Microbial Community in the Rhizosphere of Two Dominant Shrubs of the Negev Desert Highlands, Zygophyllum dumosum Boiss. and Atriplex halimus, Using Cultivation-Dependent and -Independent Methods.” American Journal of Botany. 2013, 100(9).
Boyle PM, Burrill DR, Inniss MC, Agapakis CM, Deardon A, DeWerd JG, Gedeon MA, Quinn JY, Paull ML, Raman AM, Theilmann MR, Wang L, Winn JC, Medvedik O, Schellenberg K, Haynes KA, Viel A, Brenner TJ, Church GM, Shah JV, and Silver PA. "A BioBrick Compatible Strategy for Genetic Modification of Plants." Journal of Biological Engineering, 2012, 6:8.
Agapakis CM, Niederholtmeyer H, Noche RR, Lieberman TD, Megason SG, Way JC, and Silver PA.
Towards a Synthetic Chloroplast. PLoS ONE, 2011, 6(4): e18877.
Barstow B, Agapakis CM, Boyle PM, Grandl G, Silver PA, and Wintermute EH. "A synthetic system links FeFe-hydrogenases to essential E. coli sulfur metabolism." Journal of Biological Engineering, 2011, 5:7.
Agapakis CM, Ducat DC, Boyle PM, Wintermute EH, Way JC, and Silver PA.
Insulation of a Synthetic Hydrogen Metabolism Circuit in Bacteria. Journal of Biological Engineering, 2010, 4:3.
*JBE most highly accessed article of 2010
Florez JC, Sjögren M, Agapakis CM, Burtt NP, Almgren P, Lindblad U, Berglund G, Tuomi T, Gaudet D, Daly MJ, Ardlie KG, Hirschhorn JN, Altshuler D, Groop L.
Association testing of common variants in the insulin receptor substrate-1 gene (1RS1) with type 2 diabetes. Diabetologia. 2007, 50(6): 1209-17.
Hines J, Roy M, Cheng H, Agapakis CM, Taylor R, Crews CM.
Myriaporone ¾ structure- activity relationship studies define a pharmacophore targeting eukaryotic protein synthesis. Molecular BioSystems. 2006, 2: 371-9.
Florez JC, Wiltshire S, Agapakis CM, Burtt NP, de Bakker PIW, Almgren P, Boström KB, Tuomi T, Gaudet D, Daly MJ, Hirschhorn JN, McCarthy MI, Altshuler D, Groop L.
High-density haplotype structure and association testing of the insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) gene with type 2 diabetes in 4,206 people. Diabetes. 2006, 55(1): 128-35.
Florez JC, Agapakis CM, Burtt NP, Sun M, Almgren P, Rastam L, Tuomi T, Gaudet D, Hudson TJ, Daly MJ, Ardlie KG, Hirschhorn JN, Groop L, Altshuler D.
Association Testing of the Protein Tyrosine Phosphatease IB Gene (PTPN1) With Type 2 Diabetes in 7,883 People. Diabetes. 2005, 54(6): 1884-9.
Videlock EJ, Chung VK, Hall JM, Hines J, Agapakis CM, Austin DJ.
Identification of a Molecular Recognition Role for the Activation Loop Phosphotyroside of the Src Tyrosine Kinase. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2005, 127(6): 1600-1.
Agapakis CM. "Designing Synthetic Biology." ACS Synthetic Biology, 2013, DOI: 10.1021/sb4001068.
Agapakis CM and Tolaas S. "Smelling in Multiple Dimensions." Current Opinion in Chemical Biology (special issue on Aesthetics), 2012, 16(5-6): 569-575.
Agapakis CM, Boyle PM, and Silver PA. "Natural Strategies for the Spatial Optimization of Metabolism in Synthetic Biology." Nature Chemical Biology, 2012, 8(6): 527-535.
Agapakis CM and Silver PA.
Modular Electron Transfer Circuits for Synthetic Biology: Insulation of an Engineered Biohydrogen Pathway. Bioengineered Bugs, 2010, 1:6.
Agapakis CM and Silver PA.
Synthetic Biology: Exploring and Exploiting Biological Modularity Through the Design of Novel Biological Networks. Molecular BioSystems, 2009, 5: 704-13.
Walker, R., Agapakis CM, Watkin E, and Hirsch AM. Symbiotic nitrogen fixation in legumes: perspectives on the diversity and evolution of nodulation by Rhizobium and Burkholderia species. In: Biological Nitrogen Fixation. F.J. deBrujjn, (ed.). John Wiley & Sons. In press.
Agapakis CM and Tolaas S. (2014) The Inside-Out Body. In A. D. Ginsberg, J. Calvert, P. Schyfter, A. Elfick, and D. Endy (Eds.), Synthetic Aesthetics: Investigating Synthetic Biology's Designs on Nature (pp. 255-266). The MIT Press.
“Bacterial Cultures” (January 2014) Design Dialogs, Art Center College of Design.
“The Art and Science of Smells” (December 2013) Marlborough School.
“Dirty Ecology: Bacteria and Art” (November 2013) Guest Lecture for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
“Synthetic Aesthetics” (November 2013) Guest Lecture for Stanford Bioengineering.
“Media Hype and Synthetic Biology.” (November 2013) With Alok Jha at the Science Gallery Dublin.
“Bacteria in Art and Science.” (October 2013) Curiosity^3 at Columbia University.
“Toe Cheese: Biology and Disgust.” (October 2013) PopTech.
"Prototypes and Provocations: Imagining the Future of Synthetic Biology." (July 2013) Synthetic Biology 6.0 Panel, Design and synthetic biology: connecting people and technologies
"Histories and Futures of Synthetic Biology." (May 2013) Guest Lecture for Introduction to Science Studies at the University of California, Irvine.
"Against Nature: Redesigning Biotechnology's Metaphors." (March 2013) Design Dialogs, Art Center College of Design.
"Feast, Famine, and Other Scenarios." (December 2012) Foodprint LA Panel discussion with Allison Carruth, Erik Cutter, and Joseph Wickham.
"Disciplining Synthetic Biology." (September 2012) 1∅ Conference.
"Building with Biology." (June 2012) Guest Lecture for Duke University TIP Futures Institute.
"Engineering Biology." (November 2011) Workshop with HackLab, University of Southern California Annenberg Innovation Lab.
"Designing Biologically: Synthetic Biology Devices in Environmental and Social Context." (September 2011) Presentation at Synthetic Biology at the Interface of Science and Policy, University of Ottawa.
"Imagining, engineering, and evolving synthetic biologies." (May 2011) Lecture at Bio:Fiction Film Festival.
Form Follows Evolution, Function, or Fashion? Exploring collaborations between synthetic biology, art and design. (November 2010) Synthetic Aesthetics Seminar at MIT Media Lab.
Beyond Agribusiness: New and Old Ways to Grow Food. (April 2011) Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy Seminar Series, with Patrick Boyle and Tina Liu.
“Dirty Ecology.” (October 2013) Panelist at 4S: Annual meeting of the Society for Social Studies of Science.
"Extremely Adventurous Human Females: Towards a Feminist Synthetic Biology?" (April 2013) UC FemTechNet Assembly: Feminist Infrastructures and Technocultures.
"Designing Living Things." (March 2012) Panel at SXSW Interactive with Patrick Boyle, Jason Kelly, and Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg.
"Towards Sufficient Weirdness." (June 2011) Synthetic Biology Slam.
Agapakis CM, Boyle PM. “Knowledge and Learning Used for Good Effect: Evolving Biological Design Principles for Synthetic Biology” (June 2011) Poster presented at Synthetic Biology 5.0.
Tolaas S, Agapakis CM. “BOD_BAC_CHE” (June 2011) Poster presented at Synthetic Biology 5.0.
Agapakis CM, Niederholtmeyer H, Inniss M, Wintermute EH, Noche R, Super M, Way JC, and Silver PA. (March 2010)
Towards a synthetic endosymbiosis. Poster presented at the Institute for Biological Engineering Annual Conference.
Hydrogen Production in Synechococcus elongatus. (February 2010) Presentation at the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center retreat.
Agapakis CM, Wintermute EH, Boyle PM, Savage DF, and Silver PA. (October, 2008)
Modular Approaches to Engineering the [FeFe] Hydrogenase. Poster presented at Synthetic Biology 4.0 in Hong Kong.
"Synthetic Biology: The Art and Science of Engineering Life." (July 2013) Guest Lecture for UCLA Sci-Art NanoLab.
"Bacterial Encounters." (May 2013) UCLA Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous.
"Biological Design in Context." (February 2013) UCLA Chemistry and Biology Interface Graduate Colloquium.
"Chemical Romance: Food, Love, and Science." (Valentine's Day 2013) UCLA Art|Sci Center Workshop.
"Cheese Cultures: Art/Science/Ecology." (January 2013) UCLA Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendezvous on Art-Science Collaborations.
"Sensual Engineering: Taste, Smell, and Biotechnology." (April 2012) Guest Lecture for UCLA Design | Media Arts Honors Seminar: Biotech and Art.
"Microbial Interactions." (January 2012) Guest Lecture for UCLA Design | Media Arts Course 160—Hybrid Worlds: NanoBioTech Plus Art.
Presenter, "Invitation to Speak: Interdisciplinary Salon." (April 2011) Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Synthetic Endosymbiosis: Towards a Photosynthetic Astronaut. (January 2010) Presentation at Harvard Department of Systems Biology Lunch Seminar.
With Sissel Tolaas
A blog about synthetic biology and biologically inspired design and engineering in principle and in practice. Active since 2009, member of the Scientific American Blog Network since 2011.
"Edible Memories." (August 2013) Omni Reboot.
"Lactobacillus." (January 2013) The Book of Invisible Life.
"Timelines, roadmaps, and tools: navigating the futures of synthetic biology." (July 2012) Perspective for SynBERC Six Parties Symposium Travel Fellowship.
"The Prozac Yogurt Effect: How hype can affect the future of science" (March 2012) and "Steak of the Art" (April 2012) Guest posts on The Crux, Discover Magazine Blogs.
Contributor to the handbook for Synthesis: synthetic biology in art and society, (July 2011) The Arts Catalyst.
Knowledge is Power. (January 2011) Selected for publication in The Open Laboratory: The Best in Science Writing on Blogs, 2010 Edition.
Stripped (February - March 2014) Sam Francis Gallery, Crossroads School for Arts and Sciences.
"How to Make Human Body Cheese" (January 2014) Guest expert on The Doctors.
"What's REALLY Living IN, ON & AROUND Your Body." (April 2012) Guest expert on an episode of The Doctors.
"What Will Power the Future". (November 2011),
Invasion of the Synthetic Bacteria. (October 2011), and
Climate Change, Synthetic Biology, and Cephalopods. (February 2011) Diavlogs with Maggie Koerth Baker on Bloggingheads.tv.
My Synthetic Life, (June 2010) Episode of The Agenda With Steve Paikin, TV Ontario.
Ancestors and Offspring, (May 2010) Diavlog with John Hawks on Blogginheads.tv.
Self Portrait With Lab. (February 2011) Short film screened at
Making Movies/Making Science, at the MIT Museum Second Fridays Program.
PopTech Science Fellow (October 2013)
SoCal STS Retreat Workshop (February 2013)
Participant, Synthetic Biology Leadership Accelerator Program (October 2012)
SciFoo 2012 (August 2012)
UC Science and Technology Studies Student and Postdoc Workshop (June 2012)
SynBERC Postdoc Travel Award, Six Parties Symposium on Synthetic Biology (June 2012)
Peer reviewer for PLOS ONE, ACS Synthetic Biology, Sensors, IET Systems Biology, Bioengineered Bugs
Molecular biology, biochemistry, and synthetic biology lab techniques
Python scripting, HTML/CSS
Digital video production
Native English, Fluent Greek, Reading Spanish