Charles Fracchia is an IBM PhD Fellow at the MIT Media Lab in Joe Jacobson’s Molecular Machines group, and in the Church lab at the Wyss Institute at Harvard Medical School. Charles obtained his bachelor’s at Imperial College London, where he worked on a bioelectronic interface between engineered bacteria and electronic sensors. He continued his thesis work at IBM Research, where he has been encouraging research in the field ever since. Charles worked as an early intern at Ginkgo Bioworks, where he developed many of the automated assembly pipelines still used today.

Charles is a founder of BioBright, a company building a ‘smart lab’ user interface that can capture and track everything that happens in a biological experiment. He represents Boston for the Hello Tomorrow challenge (European 100k), and is a founding member of the first US bio-hackerspace. Charles has spoken about his work at many different venues and online including HackADay, the White House, MIT Sloan, NASA Ames, IBM Research, and Airbus. His current academic interests lie at the intersection of biological engineering and electronics called digital bioengineering. He was the Biology track chair at SOLID2015 mixing biology, electronics and computer science.

Charles is the recipient of several awards including IBM PhD fellowships, one of the first Awesome Foundation fellowships and an Amplify Partners fellowship. He is the author of several patents and is actively authoring more in the field of future laboratory tools. Charles has also been involved in obtaining numerous grants and contracts from DARPA, NSF, Google X, Knight Foundation and the Shanghai High Tech Incubator totaling several millions since 2012.


Year Title Status Reference
2015 Details pending Pending
2015 Details pending Pending
2014 Context Aware Pipetting Pending
2013 Hierarchical Scalable Functional Nanoassembler Approved Approval, Application

Papers, Posters and Presentations

Year Title Where Type
2015 Context Aware Pipetting: tracking manual pipetting operations using computer vision International Workshop on BioDesign Automation (IWBDA) Poster
2015 Bio Track Chair, Talk: SynBio 101, Fireside chat with BioRad SOLID Conference Talk
2015 MIT Media Lab Lounge SXSW Talk
2014 White House Smart Cities NIST Workshop DC Convention Center Invited Talk
2014 Bits ↔ Biology MIT Center for Bits and Atoms Talk
2014 Open source hardware and software for bio to digital measurements Airbus Invited Talk
2013 Fabricated machines for rapid prototyping in bio labs (w/ Nadya Peek, Scott Livingston and Emzo de los Santos) Open Hardware Summit Poster
2013 Continuous, Multiplexed, Non-Invasive Physiological Sensing with Glass Google X Poster
2013 Play with DNA: Building a Star Trek Replicator and other shenanigans Tarassenko Lab, IBME, Oxford Invited Talk
2013 Interfacing Biology and Electronics NASA Ames Invited Talk
2012 Engineering Programmable Potassium Efflux as a Cyborg Reporter Mechanism in Synthetic Biology International BioEngineering Conference Invited Talk
2011 Building a New Reporter System using Synthetic Biology for Bio-Electronic Communication IBM Research Poster
2011 Why Biological Prototyping Sucks and How To Fix It MIT T=0 Entrepreneurship Event Invited Talk
2010 BioEngineered Inks Awesome Foundation Invited Talk


Year Title
2015 Awaiting Announcement
2013, 2014 IBM Ph.D. Fellowship
2014 Amplify Partners Fellowship
2010 Awesome Foundation Fellowship


Year Title Where Type
2015 Joi Ito: Why Biology is the New Digital O'Reilly SOLID Video
2015 Biological experimentation in the digital age BioHacking Safari Audio
2015 Open Hardware for Open Science Hack A Day Video & Article
2014 The Outlook for DIYBio La Paillasse DIYBio lab Article
2013 Bits ↔ Bio Article TechEmergence Article


Type Address
Email (general) charlesfracchia@gmail.com
Email (academic) fracchia@mit.edu
Twitter @charlesfracchia
Skype charlesfracchia
LinkedIn https://linkedin.com/in/charlesfracchia