You’ve heard the news: DNA synthesis and sequencing get
cheaper every year. Standardized biological parts and affordable tools mean that you
can engineer bacteria in your garage. Cultivated meat is coming to a supermarket near you.
The first CRISPR babies will soon be learning to walk.
Many futures are possible.
It’s now easy to imagine a future where we eradicate diseases like malaria, manufacture
carbon-neutral plastics, and seed the deserts with drought-resistant crops. But we must
also consider futures that include runaway gene drives, laboratory accidents we can't
contain, and even the spread of engineered pathogens. We cannot launch new biotechnologies
into the world and blindly hope they will disrupt it for the better. We must
thoughtfully, collaboratively and creatively face the consequences of our innovation.
Its time to work together
Catalyst will be a day of collaborative problem-solving for a broad range of people
invested in the future of biotechnology, including synthetic biologists, policymakers,
academics, and biohackers. We aim to catalyze a community of forward-looking
individuals who will work together to engineer a future enhanced by biology and
not endangered by it.
The summit is free to attend for everyone accepted, and the application only takes a
few minutes. We expect participants to come from diverse backgrounds, and welcome
applicants who do not work professionally in biosecurity or biotechnology, who are
early in their careers, and who are skeptical of how biosecurity discussions are
We know thoughtful, well-intentioned people differ on how to balance caution and
innovation. We hope to create a space where productive conversations can be had across
lines of disagreement. If you’re not sure that you'd fit in at this event,
consider that your perspective may add valuable diversity of thought
to these conversations.
About the event
At Catalyst, you can expect an environment tailored for around 100 people to explore
technical solutions to emerging biological risks. The summit will feature a
combination of talks, workshops, small-group discussions, and structured
problem-solving. We hope to create a context for sharing perspectives, building
connections, and sparking collaboration.
Director, Sculpting Evolution Group, MIT Media Lab