Kristin brings a decade of wide-ranging experience in biotechnology, hardware, high-growth startups, and operational and team-building expertise to Lowercarbon. Before joining Lowercarbon, Kristin was both an Entrepreneur-In-Residence with Carbon180 and a fellow with the NREL LabStart Program. In both of these programs, she investigated the commercialization potential of technologies at the intersection of carbon removal and synthetic biology (from building materials to chemicals to consumer goods and many industries in between).

Prior to working full-time on climate, she worked to make scientific research more collaborative, reproducible, and accessible at Opentrons, an open-source lab robotics startup. As one of the earliest employees, she touched nearly every part of the business, kickstarted several of the company’s most critical operational pipelines, helped scale the team more than 40x, and worked with scientists and biohackers all over the world to develop a library of automated open-source lab workflows.

In the even more distant past, Kristin managed cutting-edge clinical trials at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, and worked as a wildlife rescue volunteer, a bartender in a heavy-metal joint, a barista, a retail salesperson, and a teaching assistant. Kristin also conducted an NSF-funded study in Poland and the Czech Republic, spending a summer pulling apart car engines to coat their pistons in nanolayers of diamond. She earned a BS in Biochemistry from the University of Alabama at Birmingham as the first woman in her rural Alabaman family to graduate from college.

Kristin has spoken internationally at countless universities and scientific conferences on topics ranging from open tech ecosystems to community biology. She’s a fellow and active member of the Global Community Biosummit organized through the Community Biotechnology Initiative at MIT Media Lab, and has participated in the Mozilla Foundation’s Open Leaders program to learn more about building inclusive communities in tech. She moonlights as a founding member of NewBioCity and a member of New York’s Genspace, and is active in several climate-focused communities including Sunrise Scientists and AirMiners.

Kristin serves as the interim Director of Grants at iGEM. She also collaborates with a team of world-class scientists on the MIT Climate Grand Challenges and helps to build decentralized, open-source direct air capture projects with the Open Air Collective, both efforts to remove gigatons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Pretty cool! (Pun intended). In her abundant free time, you can usually find her somewhere in Brooklyn – running, lounging in a hammock at Prospect Park, yelling into the void on Twitter, reading sci-fi, hanging out with her pets, and trying to learn French. Note that if you cross her path, she will likely force you to try boiled peanuts, the food of her people.


Kristin Ellis