MITRE 1 McLean Campus in the early morning

Synthetic Biologist Marc Salit Named MITRE Fellow

Salit to lead new Open BioFoundry

Bedford, Mass. and McLean, Va., Nov. 29, 2021—MITRE named Marc Salit a MITRE Fellow to lead a major expansion in MITRE’s synthetic biology work. Salit will lead the development of a new Open BioFoundry to develop fundamental tools and accelerate applied capabilities in engineering biological systems.

This will include the development of standards for synthetic biology to improve collaboration and innovation. Salit’s work will also focus on using synthetic biology for critical sponsor problems, including remote sensing and detection.

“Modern understanding of biology begins to blur the lines with chemistry, physics, and engineering,” said Charles Clancy, senior vice president, general manager, MITRE Labs, and chief futurist. “Synthetic biology harnesses this to make fundamental scientific advances in everything from material science to healthcare to sustainability Marc brings significant experience and leadership overseeing important synthetic biology work, and we are thrilled to have him on board to help develop one of the most impactful technologies for the future.”

Salit is an adjunct professor at Stanford University and former Senior Staff Scientist at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. He cofounded and directed the Joint Initiative for Metrology in Biology, where he focused on innovation and development of measurement science, standards, and reproducible data, results, and materials in synthetic biology.

Synthetic biology, quantum information science, and mCODE—standard health record for oncolog—are among MITRE’s independent research projects seeking to deliver national impact.

“MITRE’s independent research and development program is continually evolving to meet the changing needs of the government and nation,” said Dr. Jay Schnitzer, senior vice president, chief technology and medical officer. “Our research programs addressing complex problems is a key part of our work solving problems for a safer world.”

MITRE Fellows are a select group of preeminent scientists in their fields who direct high-risk scientific or technical initiatives to address national or global challenges. The MITRE Fellows program has a history of deeply impactful work to the nation and world, including the Global Positioning System (GPS) and adaptive signal processing.

In addition, MITRE has appointed Pam Silver, Ph.D., as a member of the MITRE Labs Advisory Committee. Silver is widely recognized as one of the early pioneers in synthetic biology, developing several of the core building blocks for engineered biology. She currently holds the Elliot T. and Onie H. Adams Professorship of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and is a founding core faculty member of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering.


MITRE’s mission-driven teams are dedicated to solving problems for a safer world. Through our public-private partnerships and federally funded R&D centers, we work across government and in partnership with industry to tackle challenges to the safety, stability, and well-being of our nation.

Media Contact: Jordan Graham,