What is




Welcome to the Center for Cellular Construction, an NSF Science and Technology Center (STC) supported by NSF grant DBI-1548297. Our mission is to turn cell biology into an engineering discipline by learning how to engineer the physical structure and interactions of living cells, to turn them into living bioreactors and modules of novel self-organizing devices.

We are working to realize this vision through four subgoals: (i) building the tools and concepts to implement a full design-build-test cycle in cell biology; (ii) educating scientists and engineers at all levels to work with the cell as an engineering medium; (iii) broadening awareness and participation; and (iv) driving innovation through applications. Accomplishing these goals will provide a new basis for tackling important global challenges of the 21st century


Wallace Marshall

Center Director

Zev Gartner

Co-Director and Research Coordinator

Debra Singer

Managing Director

Olivia Viloria

Center Finance Administrator

Frank Bayliss

SFSU – Center Diversity Coordinator

Rebecca Smith

UCSF-SEP – Education Coordinator

Orion Weiner

UCSF – Graduate Education Coordinator

Charles Craik

UCSF Entrepreneurship and Knowledge Transfer Coordinator

Robert McGinn

CCC Lead Ethics Investigator
Center for Work, Technology & Organization, Stanford University (Emeritus Professor)

Jennifer Fung

Information Coordinator



Jennifer Frazier, Exploratorium Site Director


Simone Bianco, IBM Site Director

Tom Zimmerman

University of California San Francisco

Shawn Douglas

Sophie Dumont

Orion Weiner

University of California Berkeley

Daniel Fletcher

John Dueber

San Francisco State University

Mark Chan

Diana Chu

Laura Burrus

Wilfred Denetclaw

Raymond Esquerra

Blake Riggs

Stanford University

Sindy Tang

Manu Prakash


External advisory committee

Radhika Nagpal,
Chair, EAC
Dept. of Computer Science
Harvard University

Neda Bagheri
Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
Northwestern University

Erin Dolan
Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
University of Georgia

Carlos Gutierrez
Dept. Chemistry and Biochemistry
CSU Los Angeles

Jennifer Lippincott-Schwartz
HHMI, Janelia Farm Campus

Kinkead Reiling
Co-founder, Amyris

Wenying Shou
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Brian von Herzen
Executive Director, Climate Foundation

Dan Widmaier
CEO, Bolt Threads

Because our plans to engineer new types of cells raise bioethical concerns, we have constituted an Ethics Panel consisting of the following bioethics experts:

Megan Palmer
Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Barbara Koenig
Director, UCSF Program in Bioethics