Breaking the bounds of biology.

Our Mission

Tierra exists to empower scientists to identify their next big discovery. 

Scientific discoveries will unlock a sustainable future. However, biology is complex and often difficult to manipulate.  By breaking out of the cell, and using the components of biology in a cell-free system, we want to fundamentally change the way scientists approach discovery. Breaking the bounds of biology will lead to game-changing innovations.


Proteins, enabled by cell-free synthetic biology.

Tierra has been perfecting the science of cell-free systems, starting from technology originally developed at Caltech and backed by DARPA. We deploy automation and SolAI, our learning platform, around proprietary cell-free systems to enable combinatoric protein expression that is completely ex vivo. Three things can be easily varied using Tierra technology that is difficult when using cells:

Sequence variants
Different DNA variants of the input can be produced and expressed in parallel.

Cell-free systems
Tierra has multiple cell-free systems representing the diversity of life, spanning gram-positive, gram-negative, and eukaryotic species.

Known additives to the system, such as cofactors or salts, can be supplemented.

The end product is not only physical protein, but also multiple layers of rich and actionable data that informs the protein expression workflow.


We’re a team of scientists and engineers who are passionate about collaborating on the next innovative scientific discoveries.

Colin Ahoy
Lab Manager
Paul Bisesi
Associate Scientist
Brenda Cruz
Associate Scientist
Youngha Hwang
Software Engineer
Alexis Jacobs
Research Associate
Lorene Lee
Research Associate
Richard Mansfield, MSc
Sr. Scientist, Tech Lead
Benjamin Mohr, PhD
Bozhena Pokorny
Associate Scientist
Zachary Sun, PhD
Kelly Trego, PhD
Sr. Scientist, Science Lead
Kyle Zolkin
Lab Technician

I love working at Tierra because I am encouraged to be my best self while pushing myself to become better. I know I can reach out to anyone for help and they’ll be there to support me.

Alexis Jacobs
Research Associate
Board & Partners

Scientific Advisory Board

George Church
Co-founder - Harvard Medical School
Michael Jewett
Northwestern University
Richard Murray
Co-founder - California Institute of Technology
Brad Moore
Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Jonathan Burbaum
Dan Robertson
Joule Unlimited, Diversa
Jeff Kim
Radiant Genomics, Slingshot Biosciences
Paul Freemont
Imperial College London
Louis Metzger IV
Novartis ID (former), NewCo


Fred Kittler
Orrema Capital
Richard Murray
California Institute of Technology
Zachary Sun
Chief Executive Officer
Alex Danco


TechCrunch September 11, 2018

As biological manufacturing moves to the mainstream, Synvitrobio rebrands and raises cash

The Economist May 06, 2017

Cell-free biotech will make for better products