About Tessa Alexanian

  • biotechno-optimist with a side of "are we the baddies"
  • former professional robot whisperer
  • here for both "donate 10%" and "aaa catastrophic risks" effective altruism
  • trained tall ship rigging officer
  • 3-time bay area pun-off champion
  • over-the-top theme party hostess

I swore an oath upon honor and cold iron before departing Waterloo, Ontario to become an engineer at Zymergen in Emeryville, California, where I spent four years attempting to persuade robots to do biology experiments. I realized I was spending an awful lot of my spare time reading papers about biosecurity, so now I'm working on preventing pandemics and generally aiming for nice futures for biotechnology, most recently as part of iGEM's Safety and Security Program.

Professional bio: Tessa Alexanian is trying to steer towards nice futures for biotechnology. After finishing her engineering degree, she spent four years wrangling robots to do biological engineering at Zymergen, followed by two years serving as the iGEM Competition’s Safety and Security officer. Her work has focused on modular laboratory automation, assessing dual-use risks from synthetic biology projects, and creating cultures of responsibility. Tessa has run workshops on Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) verification, responsible use of synthetic biology beyond containment, and collaborative biosecurity. She holds a 2023 CSR Fellowship for Ending Bioweapons, and was a 2022 ELBI fellow, a 2020 Foresight Fellow, and a 2017 iGEM BWC delegate.

I also have a resumé, if you're into that sort of thing.

I look like this:

Image of a early-30s girl with green hair, wearing what I think is a pretty cool suit jacket. The girl is me.