What is SynBioBeta?

SynBioBeta is the leading community of entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, policymakers, and biology enthusiasts devoted to the responsible growth of the synthetic biology field. We’re dedicated to telling the stories of the field and startups involved, building their networks, and helping them attract investments.

Our international conferences and events bring the entire community together several times each year and give anyone the opportunity to meet with the bright minds building and shaping the nascent field — from venture capitalists and angel investors to entrepreneurs and thought leaders. The SynBioBeta Blog and SynBioBeta Digest ensure that you’ll stay connected every day in between.

And while our focus is on startups, we’re here to support responsible companies throughout their industry-disrupting journey. SynBioBeta offers the industry’s only laser-focused job postings page, online advertisements, and exhibit sponsorships in addition to expert-driven research reports, courses and training sessions, and consulting services. Visit our Services Page to see how we can help you grow.

Meet Our Team

John Cumbers

John Cumbers

Founder & Executive President

John Cumbers received his PhD in Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry from Brown University. He has a masters degree in bioinformatics from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland and an undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of Hull in England. He founded the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines competition) team at Brown in 2005, was an iGEM ambassador to China in 2006/2007 and has been working in the field of synthetic biology and resource utilization in space at NASA Ames since 2008.


Lisa Comeau

Director of Events

Lisa Comeau is the Director of Events at SynBioBeta, managing the company’s conferences and Activate! events. As a Conference Director and Trade Show/Event Manager Consultant, Lisa has worked with a broad array of clients from non-profits to associations to corporate firms since 1996. Her extensive experience as a consultant allows her to work any aspect of the business. Lisa is experienced in a full spectrum of services for conferences, seminars, fundraisers, conventions, and trade shows. Additionally, she can leverage her graphics background to design, create, and execute event marketing efforts..


Kate Wildauer

Director of Educational Services & New Business Development

Kate Wildauer directs SynBioBeta’s educational efforts and is responsible for business development efforts to encourage new companies to enhance corporate visibility through advertising and sponsorship. She earned an undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Villanova University and a Master’s in Microbiology from Thomas Jefferson University. Her 20 years experience includes positions in oncology research, clinical data coordination, project management, training, business development, and services director for a non-profit organization. Kate also founded and ran a successful business for 10 years and served as adjunct faculty at Villanova.


Josh Gilmore

Course Instructor & Consultant

Josh Gilmore leverages his deep understanding of biology and business to advise synthetic biology startups on technology strategy, research and development efforts, and market research. Josh received his PhD in Chemistry from University of California Berkeley in 2007 with Matt Francis while studying protein attachment to synthetic surfaces. He performed his postdoctoral work with Professor Jay Keasling at the Joint BioEnergy Institute and SynBERC, learning how synthetic biology can be applied to biofuel production and DNA control mechanisms. He has extensive teaching experience and was a back-to-back outstanding student instructor for organic chemistry at University of California Berkeley.