PHILADELPHIA - César de la Fuente, PhD, has joined the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania as a Presidential Assistant Professor in the departments of Psychiatry and Microbiology, in addition to the department of Bioengineering at Penn. His research combines techniques from protein design, engineering, computational biology, and microbiology to harness an array of biological systems to fight infectious diseases and mental illness. De la Fuente’s current work investigates merging concepts from synthetic biology and computational biology to create artificial antibiotics.
As a new Penn faculty member, de la Fuente is leading the Machine Biology Group, which aims to create the first computer-made tools and medicines for discovering solutions to some of the most pressing clinical challenges we face. For example, his work will continue to engineer biological systems such as tiny proteins to address a range of global health problems like antibiotic resistance. His new lab at Penn will also develop tools for investigating the new field of synthetic neuromicrobiology, an area which deals with how microbes communicate with the brain to regulate physiology, behavior, and mental health.
De la Fuente received his PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from The University of British Columbia and most recently served as a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), working on synthetic biology and computer science. He is the recipient of several major grants and fellowships, and was recently named one of MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 and one of the top 10 emerging professionals in his field under the age of 40 by GEN. In 2018, de la Fuente was also named a "Wunderkind” by the life sciences publication STAT.
The Presidential Professorships are five-year term chairs, awarded by University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann to outstanding scholars, whose appointments to the standing faculty are approved by the Provost and who demonstrably contribute excellence and diversity to Penn’s inclusive community.
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