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Reshma Shetty  
Co-founder
Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc.

Reshma Shetty

Reshma received her Ph.D. in Biological Engineering from MIT and her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, from the University of Utah. Reshma is a co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks, Inc. where she designs and makes organisms. She enjoys the amazing group of engineers she works with who share her passion to make biology easier to engineer.
 
How has your participation in the Bioscience Program had an impact on your career?
I first got into the lab doing research in the Bioscience Undergraduate Research Program High School Program and 16 years later, I haven't left. I'll always be grateful to Bioscience Undergraduate Research Program for making it possible for a high school student with zero laboratory skills and little background in biology to join a university lab and actually do original research.  The mentors I had in the Pradip Bandyopadhyay/Toto Olivera Lab were enormously generous with their time and sharing their expertise.  It was only once I left the University of Utah that I realized how truly exceptional the Bioscience Undergraduate Research Program and tradition of undergraduate research at the University of Utah’s Biology Department is.    
 
What advice would you give current students who aspire to follow a similar career path?
Follow your passion.  It's much easier to work hard and succeed if you are doing what you love.  If you're interested in engineering biology, you should check out the iGem competition - it's an undergraduate competition in synthetic biology in which teams of student design and build genetically engineered machines over the course of a summer.
 
What accomplishments are you most proud of (professionally and/or personally)?
Since leaving the University of Utah, I have moved from studying the natural world to engineering it.  I spend my time designing and making organisms.  One of my coolest engineered organisms to date is bacteria that smell like wintergreen and banana.  
   
What do you enjoy doing with your free time?  Family?  Hobbies?  Interests?
I enjoy rollerblading and crewing for my husband during Saturday sailboat racing in Marblehead, MA.

 

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