Portrait of Paul Grant

Paul Grant

Synthetic Biologist


I'm a Synthetic Biologist in the Biological Computation group at Microsoft Research, Cambridge.  I'm an experimental biologist with training in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology and am interested in understanding how organisms build themselves and how we can learn the design rules for engineering biological self-organization.

My approach is a very collaborative one, aiming to tightly integrate the generation of experimental data with computational modelling to develop understanding about synthetic gene regulatory networks and improve their performance.  By building these synthetic genetic circuits based on developmental biological mechanisms we can build a toolkit for engineering multicellular behaviours and gain insight into how those mechanisms function in natural systems.



I did my undergraduate work at Harvard, receiving a BA in Biology in 2000.  While at Harvard I worked in the labs of Robert Pruitt and Andrew McMahon on Arabidopsis and mouse development, respectively.  I got my PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Washington in 2009 after working with Edward Giniger on axon guidance in Drosophila and with Cecilia Moens on neuron migration in zebrafish.  I brought all of this training in developmental biology to bear on synthetic biology during a postdoc with Jim Haseloff at the University of Cambridge.  During this time I collaborated with the biological computation group at MSR on building and understanding synthetic gene regulatory circuits that mimic developmental processes.  I joined MSR full time in July, 2016.