Kit McDonnell is a biologist operating at the intersection of design, biotech, and sustainability. She’s currently a member of the Creative and Capital Markets Teams at Ginkgo Bioworks, an organism design company using the most advanced technology on the planet–biology–to grow products instead of manufacturing them. Working most closely with Ginkgo’s Creative Director, CEO, and Chief Commercial Officer, she specializes in futures-driven business development with consumer-facing brands—how might we wear, eat, drive, and interact with new forms of biology—as well as corporate strategy, branding, and compelling organism design. As a champion for a future with innovations that are grown, she’s integrating biology into the circular economy conversation and working to create sustainable opportunities for novel technologies. See which events Kit will be checking out during HUBweek:
8:15-9:30am, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
Advances in the use of CRISPR genome editing technology have been moving at breakneck speed. But, even though the first clinical trials of the technique are expected to start before 2019, scientists have found that CRISPR might in some circumstances pose unexpected risks to patients. Over coffee and snacks, our panel of experts will explore the newest forms and uses of CRISPR, its potential to cure now-incurable diseases, and the challenges of turning a revolutionary lab technique into a therapy.
8:30-10:00am, Tufts Launchpad | BioLabs
Start your day with the Tufts Launchpad | Biolabs team and resident companies before heading to HUBweek health and medicine-focused programming at The HUB on Wednesday. Join us for informal coffee and conversation, tours of the new Boston facility, and great views of the city.
10:00-11:15am, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
In the past year, the worlds of medicine and science have been part of a broad reckoning about the obstacles that often block women from advancing and feeling comfortable in the workplace. Universities, hospitals, and life sciences companies are launching and expanding gender diversity initiatives, but what's really moving the needle? STAT's Rebecca Robbins will lead a conversation over coffee and snacks about what's changing for women — and what's not — in laboratories, executive suites, and boardrooms.
Why Kit's going: It's not just about increasing the number of women in STEM! To achieve gender parity, we really need to expand the conversation to include actionable ways for women to advance in their careers.
4:00-5:00pm, Cabot Science Library
Nature produces a remarkable diversity of mineralized composites that often exceed the performance of their modern engineering analogs. Despite significant research into the structure-function relationships of these biological material, there is a lack of information about the functional roles of many components of these hierarchies. Join us to learn about the technique of multi-material additive manufacturing as a tool to unravel the complexities of a wide range of biological materials including high strength composites, photonic architectures, and low-drag surface coatings.
5:00-6:00pm, The HUB, Ideas Dome Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Massachusetts
Boston is known for our thriving startup community and women leaders are at the heart of some of the most innovative companies, driving the creation of technologies and services that will reshape our future. At this discussion on the Ideas Stage, hear from female founders and executives driving forward game-changing ideas. The women on this panel will share personal stories from their journeys bringing these groundbreaking concepts to life.
Why Kit's going: Women in leadership beget more women in leadership! I'm excited to hear these women's stories.
10:30–11:00am, The HUB, Center Stage
What happens when science and pop culture go head to head? Join CTE and concussion researcher Dr. Ann McKee for a discussion on what to do when science has an unpopular opinion, and how to bridge the gap between research and culture.
Why Kit's going: At Ginkgo, we recognize that you can't separate culture from the science; we think a lot about the role of storytelling in shaping emerging technology's public opinion, policies, and engagement. I'm looking forward to hearing how else we can encourage public discourse and pique scientific curiosity through compelling stories and projects.
2:30-2:45pm, The HUB, Center Stage
We are just beginning to understand the wide-ranging impacts of new technologies on our physical health and performance. From athletes and musicians to schoolchildren and office workers, our technological environment influences our wellbeing more than we might think.
2:00-3:00pm, The HUB, Ideas Dome Presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Massachusetts
From the contents of your favorite kombucha flavor to the soil in corn fields, microbes are everywhere! They can entice, detract, transform, and heal us! The advent of new tools are enabling us take a closer look at the how and why of the unseen world and design with these organisms for different systems and ecologies… novel beers, new therapeutics, restorative cosmetics, sustainable agricultural practices, infant formulas, and more consumer products!
Why Kit's going: So many academic and mainstream news sources have been covering the new breakthroughs in our understanding of the microbiome. I'm excited to hear about the breadth of applications for microbiome health and wellness (and see Ginkgo's Chief Business Officer on stage!).
6:00-7:00pm, The HUB, Center Stage
Join HUBweek Co-Founder and Managing Director of The Boston Globe, Linda Pizzuti Henry, for a conversation with Julie Rice, Partner, WeWork and Co-Founder, SoulCycle on building a cult-like following, innovating new business and service models, and the importance of community.
Why Kit's going: I first heard how Julie Rice built the SoulCycle empire with her co-founder Elizabeth Cutler on NPR's From Scratch podcast. What a story! I want to hear what she's tackling since she made the jump to WeWork, too.
3:00-3:30pm, The HUB, Center Stage
CEO and Co-Founder of Ginkgo Bioworks, one of Boston's latest unicorns, Jason Kelly makes the case that while Boston is never going to be Silicon Valley, it will beat it. Join for a provocative conversation on what we're doing differently, how we have to do things differently in the future, and the path to more billion dollar companies.
Why Kit's going: Boston is home to some of the world's greatest minds and institutions! How do we activate the entrepreneurial scene in an only-in-Boston kind of way and support founders?
2:00-2:45pm, The HUB, Center Stage
Maureen Dowd, renowned New York Times Columnist, leads a stimulating conversation with three powerhouse innovators and pioneers from the MIT Media Lab, on the blurring lines between the human and artificially intelligent world. How will technological progress influence our wellbeing and change the way we engage with our built and natural environment? How can it be used for good?
The final six startups remaining in HUBweek's Demo Day Pitch Competition will present to a panel of expert judges and compete to take home the 2018 title.
From our homes to the office, warehouse floor to city streets, robots are more and more a part of our everyday lives. Boston is a leader in supporting the development, testing, and adoption of some of these game-changing technologies. Bring your family to check out the latest in robotics and experience exciting demos of the products that will shape our future.
Why Kit's going: A party with robots? Say no more!
HUBweek is a festival for the future that explores innovation at the intersections of art, science and technology. Founded by The Boston Globe, Harvard University, Massachusetts General Hospital, and MIT, HUBweek is a first-of-its-kind civic collaboration that brings together the most creative and inventive minds in making an impact in Boston and around the world. Grab your pass to join biotech professionals like Kit at HUBweek!