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John Cumbers

John Cumbers

Holder of a PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry and founder of SynBioBeta.

John Cumbers is a British entrepreneur, organizer, and founder. He works in the synthetic biology industry and is focused on utilizing biological technologies for innovative products and practices.

Background and Education

Cumbers is originally from the United Kingdom and received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees there. His undergraduate degree is from the University of Hull and he studied Computer Science with Information Engineering there. For his graduate degree, he studied Bioinformatics at the University of Edinburgh. To get his doctorate education, Cumbers attended Brown University where he received his doctorate in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry.

Organizations and Start-ups

The International Genetically Engineered Machines competition (iGEM) team for Brown University was founded by Cumbers in 2005. He also started BetaSpace, a space settlement network that shares ideas relating to humans living on another planet. Between 2008 and 2015, Cumbers worked at the NASA Ames Research Center as a bioengineer.

Cumbers founded SynBioBeta in 2012. He describes the company as a "start-up self-help group" for those interested in synthetic biology. The company organizes yearly conferences to hold workshops and panel discussions with the intention of educating people on topics related to synthetic biology.

In order for biological technologies to be adopted by other entities, Cumbers became an operating partner at Data Collective and together they created the DCVC SynBioBeta Fund, a biotech fund for early stage start-ups. His work with creating conferences and creating networking opportunities for those in the industry is intended to be utilized by the fund.


SynBioBeta is founded

John Cumbers founds SynBioBeta.

Cumbers receives the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative award

He is given the award for his work with using synthetic biology in NASAs missions.


Further Resources


Data Collective and SynBioBeta founder John Cumbers launch a seed stage biotech fund

Sarah Buhr


April 4, 2017

John CUMBERS - If you don't have a biostrategy, you're doomed!

August 9, 2018

John Cumbers - John Cumbers

April 19, 2018

Spotlight on: Synthetic Biology with John Cumbers


February 13, 2018


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