Kristin Ellis


Kristin is a biologist, robot whisperer, community builder, and open science enthusiast who believes that everyone is a stakeholder in biotechnology. She grew up amidst the dusty peanut fields of Alabama and became the first woman in her family to graduate from college after studying biochemistry at UAB. She avoided grad school by working part-time as a barista and full-time building clinical research pipelines at the cutting edge of cancer medicine at MD Anderson. Meanwhile, she learned about effective science communication by chatting with both coffee shop customers and cancer patients about biology. This is when she developed an interest in community biotechnology, spending her spare time building open communities by organizing hackathons, museum nights, and startup meetups.

Now, she leverages that experience to make scientific research more collaborative, reproducible, and accessible as the Director of Strategy at Opentrons. There, she works with scientists and biohackers all over the world to develop automated open-source lab workflows. Kristin recently joined the Mozilla Foundation's Open Leaders program to learn more about building inclusive open-source communities. Her passion for open science continues through membership at Genspace, organizing hackathons, spearheading initiatives like Opentrons' program to give free robots to iGEM teams, and more!