César de la Fuente is a Presidential Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he leads the Machine Biology Group whose goal is to combine the power of machines and biology to understand, prevent, and treat infectious diseases. Current application areas in his lab include developing novel approaches for antibiotic discovery, building tools for microbiome engineering, and creating low-cost diagnostics.
Specifically, he pioneered the development of the world’s first antibiotic designed by a computer with efficacy in animal models (Nature Communications 2018), designed pattern recognition algorithms for antibiotic discovery (Nature Biomedical Engineering 2021), successfully reprogrammed venoms into novel antimicrobials (PNAS 2020, Nature Comm Biol 2018), created novel resistance-proof antimicrobial materials (ACS Nano 2021), and invented rapid low-cost diagnostics for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases [PNAS 2021; Matter (Cell Press) 2021].
De la Fuente is an NIH MIRA investigator, a BBRF Young Investigator, and has received recognition and research funding from numerous other groups. Prof. de la Fuente has received over 50 awards. He was recognized by MIT Technology Review in 2019 as one of the world’s top innovators for “digitizing evolution to make better antibiotics”.
He was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Langer Prize for Innovation and Entrepreneurial Excellence (2019), an ACS Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry (2020), and received the Nemirovsky Prize (2020), AIChE’s 35 Under 35 Award (2020), and the ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award (2020).
In addition, he was named a Boston Latino 30 Under 30, a 2018 Wunderkind by STAT News, a Top 10 Under 40 of 2019 by GEN, a Top 10 MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 (Spain), 30 Rising Leaders in the Life Sciences and received the 2019 Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Young Investigator Award in addition to the Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) CMBE Rising Star Award, both in 2021.
Also in 2021, he received the Thermo Fisher Award, and the EMBS Academic Early Career Achievement Award “For the pioneering development of novel antibiotics designed using principles from computation, engineering, and biology.”
Most recently, Prof. de la Fuente was awarded the prestigious Princess of Girona Prize for Scientific Research and the ASM Award for Early Career Applied and Biotechnological Research. Prof. de la Fuente has given over 150 invited lectures and his scientific discoveries have yielded around 100 peer-reviewed publications, including papers in Nature Communications, PNAS, ACS Nano, Cell, Nature Biomedical Engineering, Nature Chemical Biology, Nature Communications Biology, Advanced Materials, and multiple patents.