Andrew Hessel is a futurist and catalyst in biological technologies, helping industry, academics, and authorities better understand the changes happening in life science. He is a Distinguished Researcher with Autodesk Inc.’s Bio/Nano Research group, based out of San Francisco. He is also the co-founder of the Pink Army Cooperative, the world’s first cooperative biotechnology company, whose goal is to make open source viral therapies for cancer.
Dr Hessel presented a keynote lecture at COFES: The Congress On the Future of Engineering Software, which was held in Arizona in April 2016.
In his keynote “Virus Engineering and Beyond”, Hessel discussed the programming of living things. He believes that we are now advancing from reading genetic code to writing it. This means that we can design tools specific for living organisms and prototype the processes to bring these designs into the real world. Hessel’s work extends CAD and 3D printing into biology, a vast design space that is largely unexplored. Hessel says that cells are the ultimate 3D printers; they can be programmed to produce millions of compounds, including medicines, foods, or fuels—or used as ink in 3D printers.