Persephone Biosciences – Gut Microbiome and COVID-19 Vaccine Study

Dr. Stephanie Culler, Ph.D., co-founder and CEO of Persephone Biosciences discusses their VOICES (Vaccine Observation to Include all Communities for Equitable Science) study, a non-interventional, single-site study enrolling people in the U.S. being administered a COVID-19 vaccine. The goal is to identify and determine specific gut microbiota and the metabolic processes that are involved in an optimal immune response. 

Dr. Culler is a graduate of the prestigious Y Combinator accelerator, a recipient of the BIOCOM catalyst award and has spoken at TEDx San Diego. Prior to establishing Persephone Biosciences, she was a senior scientist at Genomatica, where she developed novel microbial synthetic biology technologies for industrial metabolic engineering and led their syngas to chemicals and bio-based butadiene (major component of tires) from renewable feedstocks programs. Dr. Culler also led the development of cell-free transcription-translation (TX-TL) for industrial metabolic engineering as well as the applications for natural product drug discovery. Dr. Culler is a pioneer in both mammalian and microbial synthetic biology. As a graduate student, she developed a suite of novel RNA-based biosensors to image cellular events and reprogram cellular fates. These programmable sensing-actuation devices enabled autonomous control over cellular behavior, including intelligent therapeutics targeted to cancer cells. This work was published in Science magazine and was highlighted as one of the key breakthroughs for that year. Stephanie received her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology under the mentorship of Prof. Christina Smolke, post-doctoral training with Prof. Michael Elowitz and has over a sixteen high-impact publications and patents on synthetic biology and microbial based technologies.

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