For expanding the role of synthetic biology in our world
Reshma Shetty is a model of success in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. In 2008 Shetty, three fellow biological engineering PhD students and their faculty supervisor at MIT founded the microorganism design company Ginkgo BioWorks. Since then, the Boston-based Ginkgo has grown exponentially. It now engages more than 600 employees and has become a world leader in synthetic biology, the process of engineering living cells. The company went public in 2021.
Ginkgo teams with strategic partners, including Fortune 500 companies and governments, to design microbes that are used in such diverse areas as nutrition, health, agriculture and pharmaceuticals. It runs several biofoundries and has launched side ventures in food tech and in programming cells to fight diseases, among other uses.
One goal Shetty has for her company is to leverage biology to make a positive impact on the environment, for example, by reducing the use of fertilizers. Ginkgo has also committed its resources to support the fight against COVID-19 through the United States’ Federal COVID-19 Testing Program.
Thanks to her many achievements in the field, Shetty received the Rosalind Franklin Award for Leadership in Industrial Biotechnology and Agriculture in 2019. In 2022 she placed in the top 100 in the Forbes list of the U.S.’s most successful women entrepreneurs, executives and entertainers.