Richard Johnson

Member, Board of Directors, iGEM Foundation

Rick Johnson plays multiple global and U.S. policy strategy and thought leadership roles in advancing: (1) synthetic biology/engineering biology and next-generation biotechnology; (2) emerging technologies for addressing societal grand challenges and sustainability; (3) forward-looking policies for securing and protecting the bioeconomy; and (4) innovative collaborations for translating research and technology into impact.

Johnson has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences Board on Life Sciences; numerous National Academies (NASEM) national committees on emerging technologies and STI; and the U.S. national strategy review for the future of the NASEM and STI policy. In those roles, he has co-authored more than 10 high impact NASEM reports. Rick also was a member of the NAS Synthetic Biology Forum; Co-Chair of the Six Academies Synthetic Biology Initiative among the U.S., UK, and China; and Chair of the “Safeguarding the Bioeconomy” workshops.

Rick currently serves as Director of: (i) the iGEM Foundation; (ii) BioMADE (the new U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Institute for bioindustrial manufacturing and design); (iii) the BioBricks Foundation at Stanford; and (iv) the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC). On the international front, he is: (1) Chairman of the OECD/BIAC Technology, and Innovation Committee; (2) Chairman of the International Advisory Committee for Australia’s Synthetic Biology Centre of Excellence; (3) Co-Chair of the Global Forum on Engineering Biology; and (4) a co-convener of the Global Biofoundries Alliance.

Rick is the CEO and founder of Global Helix LLC, a thought leadership and policy strategy firm for emerging technologies. After 30 years, Johnson retired as Senior Partner at Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C. , where he represented leading research universities, non-profit institutes, and innovative companies. For many years, Rick served on the MIT Corporation Committee, Chairman of the Brown University Biology & Medicine Council, and numerous task forces at the intersection of technology, security, and innovation.

His graduate degrees are in law and science. In addition to receiving his Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School where he was Editor of the Yale Law Journal, he received his graduate science degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he was a National Science Foundation National Fellow, and his undergraduate degree with highest honors from Brown University.





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