June 4th, 2021

Introducing the 2021 Genes in Space judges

In just a few short weeks, our Finalists will present their proposals at the 2021 Genes in Space Finalist Launchpad. Which of their projects will launch to the ISS in 2022? That decision will rest on the shoulders of our judges, who we proudly introduce below.

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Dr. Deniz Atabay is a postdoctoral researcher at MIT's Whitehead Institute, where he studies neural regeneration. A veteran Genes in Space mentor from day one, Deniz mentored five student teams over his five-year tenure with the program. Deniz joins the judges' panel as the 2021 recipient of the John Hatch Memorial Prize in Mentorship.

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Anna-Sophia Boguraev is an MD-PhD student at Harvard Medical School and MIT. Since winning the first Genes in Space contest in 2015, she's stayed involved in space biology, including spending a summer as an intern at NASA Ames. She plans to become a physician-scientist who will design biotechnology solutions to medical problems in low-resource environments — both on and off of this planet!

Sebastian Kraves

Dr. Sebastian Kraves is a co-founder of Genes in Space and miniPCR bio. A Harvard-trained molecular neurobiologist, Sebastian has published widely cited work on neural circuits and the genetic regulation of behavior. Sebastian dreamed of becoming a biologist at age 12 after reading Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle.

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Dr. Carine Robichon-Iyer is a scientist at New England Biolabs where she is developing new tools for protein expression. Through her career in academia and biotech as a molecular microbiologist, she became an expert in engineering bacteria to turn them into protein factories. Carine decided to become a scientist when she was in high school after visiting the Institut Pasteur in Paris.

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Dr. Jessica Stark is a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University, where she studies how the immune system distinguishes between healthy and diseased cells. This work promises to lead to new ways to treat or prevent infections, cancer, and autoimmune disease. As co-developer of BioBits® educational kits, Jessica hopes to increase access to high-quality biology education by facilitating hands-on learning.