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Join us for a relaxed chat with Sifang Chen, a science policy post-doc, for a slightly different discussion. We speak about Sifang’s past, how she got into DNA nanotech and molecular programming, her research on biosensors and DNA programmable materials, and how she switched to this field from quantum and graphene based devices. We then moved on to talking about science in a broader scope, starting off with the big question of how Synthetic Biology and related fields will help in the fight against climate change, and the problems we face, both from a policy and science perspective. Moving into policy is certainly unconventional, and Sifang explains the transition, and the skills required to do so, before diving into the specifics of what her job entails, how she communicates with lawmakers, and the difficulties she faces in this line of work.
Sifang Chen is a science policy postdoc at the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC). Her work focuses on policies related to synthetic biology and biotechnology, specifically on how to advance the field to help fight climate change and make our future more sustainable. Prior to joining EBRC, she worked on low-cost biosensors for pollution detection and DNA-based programmable materials. Sifang received her Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Washington in 2019. She is also an occasional hiker, photographer, and flute player.