Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Kevin M. Esvelt is an assistant professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he leads the Sculpting Evolution Group in exploring evolutionary and ecological engineering. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University for inventing a synthetic ecosystem to rapidly evolve useful biomolecules, and subsequently helped pioneer the development of CRISPR, a powerful new method of genome engineering. An inventor of CRISPR “gene drive” systems to alter wild populations of organisms, he defied tradition by calling for open discussion and the use of safeguards before demonstrating the technology in the laboratory. At MIT, his laboratory invents novel localized drive systems and alternatives, works with communities to develop humane solutions for ecological problems, and develops new approaches to prevent the misuse of biotechnology. An outspoken advocate of open and responsive science to accelerate discovery and improve safety, Esvelt seeks to use gene drive as a catalyst to reform science.