6 Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero
Dr. Justin Pahara is a Cree scientist-entrepreneur
from a Southern Alberta Canadian farm. Over the
last decade, Justin has worked in pure and applied
life sciences inside academia and out. Justin be-
gan his career earning a B. Sc. (Immunology and
Infection), and an M. Sc. (Cell Biology) from the
University of Alberta. Justin furthered his skills
and knowledge by completing a Ph.D. (Biotech-
nology & Bioelectronics) at the University of Cam-
bridge in the United Kingdom. Since being an
early participant in the International Genetically
Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition in 2007,
Justin has continued the pursuit of understand-
ing and implementing genetic engineering and
synthetic biology in his academic and entrepre-
neurial career.
During his doctorate, Justin attended the Gradu-
ate Studies Program (GSP) at Singularity Univer-
sity, a professional development program in the
heart of Silicon Valley that focuses on exponential
technology. Justins entrepreneurial passion was
ignited by the high caliber faculty, peers and rich
entrepreneurship content.
Following the program, and after completing
his doctorate, Justin entered the world of entre-
preneurship, rst with a DNA technology and IT
startup, Synbiota. In the pursuit of “exponentially
increasing global bio-innovation”, Justin joined
Amino Labs in 2016, an MIT Media Lab spinout
that builds hardware and synthetic biology prod
ucts making genetic engineering accessible to
children and non-scientists.
Throughout his career, Justin participated and
mentored in several entrepreneurship environ-
ments, including RebelBio, IndieBio (Biotech-
nology Startup Accelerators), Mozilla WebFWD
(OpenSource Software Startup Accelerator) and
helped start several Do-It-Yourself Bio labs in
Canada. Justin is an Emerging Leader of Biosecurity
Initiative Fellow.
Julie Legault is a designer-entrepreneur from the
city of Montreal. Over the last decade, Julie has
worked in design research, innovation and the
maker movement. Julie began her career earning
a B.F.A. (Design & Computation Art) and a Gradu-
ate Certicate (Digital Technologies in Design Art)
from Concordia University in Montreal. Julie fur
thered her skills and knowledge by completing a
Master of Art in the School of Materials at the Roy-
al College of Art in London, United Kingdom and
a Master of Science at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology (MIT) Media Lab. Grateful for her
early access to computing in her childhood thanks
to a pioneering mother, Julie has since dedicated
herself to translating complex technologies for
beginners through teaching and applied design.
Throughout, Julie participated in design residen-
cies worldwide, taught at Birmingham’s Institute
of Art and Design, worked with multi-nationals,
and pop stars to develop accessible smart mate-
rials, wearables and biometric devices. Her work
has been published and exhibited globally, notably
in Wired Magazine, NPR, MoMA, NYT, ARS Elec
tronica and the V&A.
As an adult, her unexpected foray into DNA tech-
nology impacted her so thoroughly that nding
an accessible entry point in the complex science
became the focus of her MIT Media Lab graduate
thesis. This led her to found Amino Labs, an MIT
spinout that designs and builds equipment and
experiences to make genetic engineering and bio-
technology accessible to youth and non-scientists.
Since then, Julie has participated and mentored
in several entrepreneurship environments, in-
cluding IndieBio (Silicon Valley Biotech Startup
Accelerator) and E14 (MIT Media Lab Startup Ac-
celerator). Julie is a proud fellow of the Coaching
Fellowship program for Extraordinary Young Women
Leaders of Impact and Biotechnology Faculty at Sin-
gularity University Canada. Julie is also the illus-
trator for this book.
@jpahara julielegault.com
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