David Sun Kong is a synthetic biologist, community organizer, musician, and photographer based in Lexington, Massachusetts. He conducted his graduate studies at MIT’s Media Laboratory, receiving a master’s degree for developing technology for printing nanostructures with energetic beams, and a Ph.D. for demonstrating the first gene synthesis in a microfluidic (“lab-on-a-chip”) system. He was an inaugural fellow for the Synthetic Biology Leadership Accelerator Program (LEAP), and serves as a mentor for the current class of fellows. He is co-chairing a new hardware track for the International Genetically Engineered Machines Competition (iGEM), and has served as a guest faculty member at the Marine Biology Lab in Woods Hole. David currently conducts synthetic biology, microfluidics, and digital fabrication research at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory with a focus on open-source hardware and democratizing technology.
David has also worked as a community organizer for more than a decade and is the founder and director of EMW, a new art, technology, and community center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. EMW’s mission is to empower communities through the transformative power of artistic expression. EMW emphasizes serving marginalized communities and develops all of its programming with values rooted in social justice. EMW’s community programs explore numerous forms of artistic expression, from poetry to electronic music, beatboxing to bio-hacking and more.
David has performed as a DJ, beat-boxer, vocalist, and rapper at hundreds of venues, including South by Southwest, the Staples Center in Los Angeles, and Brooklyn Bowl, where he opened for Tonight Show band-leader and hip hop legend Questlove. He is also an award-winning vocal arranger and producer. His photography has been exhibited at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian, the Japanese American National Museum, and other museums and galleries across the country.
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