Biologist and author
Andrew Hessel, MSc, iGEM Program Development, Alberta Ingenuity Fund, is a consulting biologist and author interested in synthetic biology and open source biology. DNA is a programming language that scientists have been working to reverse engineer with increasing success. Andrew advocates the use of open source for writing DNA code. In software development, open source has led to robust code, highly skilled developer communities, and non-monopolistic pricing — in other words, good things for end users. If the same results can be achieved in genome engineering, open source could potentially create a more diversified and sustainable biotechnology industry. These ideas are explored in Open Sources 2.0, published by O'Reilly.. Since 2003, Andrew has worked to raise awareness about the potential benefits of synthetic biology and open source biology. His efforts have been supported by the University of Oklahoma, the University of Toronto, MIT, and most recently, the Alberta Ingenuity Fund. His ongoing goal is to help create an open source biotechnology company that specializes in individually personalized cancer therapeutics. He finds it amusing that many people think this idea is ludicrous, yet consider $1B and 10 years to develop a new drug perfectly reasonable. Time will tell.