How do we advance scientific progress? We need to be more inclusive, says new Lavin speaker David Kong, Director of MIT Media Lab’s new Community Biotechnology Initiative. We must bring art together with technology. More importantly, we need to invite different minds into the lab and classroom, changing the shape of our institutions. That’s how science will evolve, says Kong.
A Synthetic Biologist, community organizer, musician, and photographer, Kong’s work at MIT and as a keynote speaker is informed by his mission to empower communities through STEM. Co-founder and managing faculty of “How to Grow (Almost) Anything,” an MIT course on synthetic biology, Kong also works to ‘culture hack’ biotech’s narrow public perception. He does this by connecting the discipline with diverse cultural languages, like hip-hop. His Biota Beats project uses a microbial record player to translate microbes from the human body into music.
A brilliant, polymathic proponent of STEM, the arts, and radical inclusivity, Kong is a funny, unambiguous speaker, grounding his talks in stories of people he’s worked with as a community organizer and instructor. Watch his appearance at a BioBricks Foundation Summit to get a taste of his natural, intelligent stage presence.