AfroBiotech Conference 2019

October 27-29, 2019
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The AfroBiotech Conference, hosted by the Society for Biological Engineering, will highlight the achievements of African Americans in biotechnology, inspire a new generation of diverse biotechnology professionals and identify, communicate, and explore current advancements in various aspects of Biotechnology. The conference aims to support AIChE's diverse engineering community and all are welcome to join.  

Submit an abstract by September 30th, 2019

Submit an abstract  Register Today

NSF’s support may be available to students/post docs who submit an abstract. Women and members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.


Historically, scientists of various racial/ethnic and gender identities have participated in the advancement of science and engineering in the U.S., but historically certain groups have been "hidden figures" who were denied full recognition of their innovation and leadership. Today, habitual exclusion increasingly discourages participation and recruitment of the next generation, which in turn undermines the strength and creativity of the U.S. scientific workforce. The AfroBiotech conference will focus on discoveries, innovations, and achievements from African-American scientists  and engineers in biotechnology to feature the contributions of this underrepresented group to solving current problems and demonstrate the power of a diverse engineering community. By organizing African-American scientific talent from across the U.S. at a single event, AfroBiotech hopes to enable the biotech industry to hire diverse professionals, inspire organizers of other scientific conferences to invite diverse speakers, and inspire the next generation of diverse students and scholars to join this community. The venue for the inaugural AfroBiotech conference is Atlanta, home of the emerging Georgia biotech corridor.

Keynote Speakers

Invited Speakers

  • Guillermo Ameer, Northwestern University
  • Tony Dickherber, National Institute of Health
  • Weslee Glenn, Provivi, Inc.
  • Erika Jefferson, BWISE USA
  • Erika Moore, University of Florida
  • Kevin Solomon, Purdue University
  • Norbert Taveres, Chan-Zuckerburg Initiative

Session Topics

  • Metabolic engineering
  • Synthetic biology and intracellular engineering
  • Microbiome and immunoengineering
  • Tissue engineering
  • DNA Synthesis, genome design, and Editing
  • Mathematical and computational modeling
  • Bioengineering and our community
  • Health and medical applications

Conference Chairs

  • Karmella Haynes, Emory University
  • Manu Platt, Georgia Institute of Technology 

Organizing Committee

  • Edward Botchwey, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • James Carothers, University of Washington
  • Ayanna Jackson, Dow AgroSciences
  • Amanda Marie James, Emory University
  • Cato Laurencin, University of Connecticut
  • Elebeoba E. May, University of Houston
  • Kristala Prather, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Sarah Richardson, Microbyre
  • Amelia Smith, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Cranos Williams, North Carolina State University


Featured Speakers

Cherie Butts

Cherié Butts is a Cellular Immunologist who leads clinical development activities of multiple sclerosis trials at Biogen (Cambridge, MA).  She obtained undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Johns Hopkins University.  Her pre-doctoral studies at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center characterized anti-tumor immune responses in ovarian cancer patients and postdoctoral studies at the National Institutes of Health examined neuroendocrine regulation of innate immunity. She continued this work at the US Food & Drug Administration, taking on additional...Read more

Anthony Guiseppi-Elie

Dr. Anthony Guiseppi-Elie is Associate Dean for Engineering Innovation in Engineering Medicine (EnMed) at Texas A&M University (TAMU) and Houston Methodist Hospital (HMH). At TAMU he holds the TEES Research Professorship in Engineering, is Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. At Houston Methodist Hospital, he is Full Affiliate Member of the Houston Methodist Research Institute and Professor of Biomedical Engineering in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences and Engineering. A former Department Head of Biomedical Engineering at...Read more

Cato Laurencin

Cato T. Laurencin is the Albert and Wilda Van Dusen Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and the Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He is also the Director of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical and Engineering Sciences, and the Chief Executive Officer, The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering.

He is the 8th University Professor in the University...Read more

Kristala Jones Prather

Kristala Jones Prather is the Arthur D. Little Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT. She received an S.B. degree from MIT in 1994 and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley (1999), and worked 4 years in BioProcess Research and Development at the Merck Research Labs prior to joining the faculty of MIT. Her research interests are centered on the design and assembly of recombinant microorganisms for the production of small molecules, with additional efforts in novel bioprocess design approaches. Prather is the recipient of an Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (...Read more