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. She's worked on modular lab automation, nucleic acid synthesis screening, assessing dual-use risks in synthetic biology projects, bioweapons convention compliance, and creating cultures of responsibility. Tessa wrangled robots to do bioengineering for four years at Zymergen, served for two years at the iGEM Competition’s Safety and Security officer, and has collaborated with organizations including Open Philanthropy, NTI | bio, and RAND. She holds a 2023 Council on Strategic Risks Fellowship for Ending Bioweapons, and was a 2022 ELBI fellow, 2020 Foresight Fellow, and 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 woman with green hair, looking up and writing in a notebook. The woman is me.