This is the personal blog of Niko McCarty. It is focused on scientific progress and features daily links (Mon-Fri), occasional commentary, and infrequent essays, All opinions expressed here are purely my own.


I’m a founding editor at Asimov Press, a publishing venture focused on biotechnology. I was a biological engineer and synthetic biologist for seven years. I’ve studied the links between diabetes and heart failure, have invented tools to make dozens of genetic edits in living cells simultaneously, and have quantified the binding energies between proteins and a cell’s DNA.

I’ve worked in research laboratories at Caltech (with Rob Phillips), Imperial College London (with Rodrigo Ledesma-Amaro and Tom Ellis), and the University of Iowa (with E. Dale Abel). My peer-reviewed research has appeared in Nature CommunicationseLifeJCI Insight, and other journals. A full list of my work can be found online (Google Scholar).

Previously, I was a Learning & Curriculum Specialist at MIT, where I worked to develop a genetic engineering curriculum for undergraduate students with Prof. Chris Voigt. The long-term goal is to build a flourishing bioeconomy, wherein young people can learn all the skills they need to design and manipulate DNA — and living organisms — to produce medicines, food, and advanced materials without obtaining a PhD. I’ve also worked as a data journalist at Spectrum in New York and as a journalism intern at Retraction Watch, where I broke several stories that were later covered by the Financial Times and WIRED

I recently co-led a $10,000 writing contest, called Homeworld Ideas, together with Homeworld Collective, a 501c3 nonprofit building the climate biotechnology community. I’m a judge for the Homebrew Biology Club, another $10,000 contest for open-source biology research.

My published work has appeared in Scientific AmericanThe CounterRetraction WatchForbesSpectrum, and elsewhere.

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Writings about scientific progress and how we can make it go faster.


Bioengineer and writer.