Dr. Hillson earned his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Harvard Medical School. He did his postdoctoral work in Developmental (Micro)Biology at Stanford University School of Medicine. Dr. Hillson's work has spanned the realms of the private (notably as co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer at TeselaGen Biotechnologies, Inc.) and public biotechnology sectors. As Department Head of BioDesign within the Biological Systems & Engineering Division, Dr. Hillson leads scientists and engineers within Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory whose domain expertise spans synthetic biology, metabolic engineering, microbiology, microbial communities, software engineering, and laboratory automation engineering.
As overall Principal Investigator of the U.S. DOE Agile Biofoundry, Dr. Hillson leads an even broader group of scientists and engineers distributed across 8 U.S. DOE National Labs towards the development of a public infrastructure that enables the private sector to reduce the cost and accelerate bioprocess commercialization timelines (from conception to process scale up and deployment). This infrastructure complements discovery engines (such as the Joint Genome Insitute, to which Dr. Hillson also contributes), by enabling the discovered (yet small scale, low titer/rates/yields) pathways to be more quickly and reliably optimized and scaled. Efforts are supported by DOE-funded entities, including the DOE Agile BioFoundry, DOE Joint BioEnergy Institute, DOE Joint Genome Institute, as well as by industry-sponsored collaborations.