Chris Bakerlee

Chris Bakerlee is a PhD candidate in Harvard University’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and a Fellow in the 2020 class of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. He is focusing his career on mitigating catastrophic anthropogenic biological risks. In his research, Chris uses the tools of experimental evolution, synthetic biology, and genomics to probe the genetic bases of complex traits in budding yeast. More specifically, he studies patterns of higher-order interactions among mutations across the genome, trying to understand their implications for organisms’ fitness and populations’ adaptive trajectories across environments. Prior to graduate school, Chris studied mechanisms of antibiotic killing in the lab of Jim Collins at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and bacteriophage evolution in the labs of Daniel Weinreich and Paul Turner at Brown University and Yale University, respectively. After graduating with a BA in Biology from Brown in 2012, Chris worked as a management consultant in McKinsey & Company’s Boston office, where he served major healthcare providers and medical device, pharmaceutical, and consumer health companies. He also supported the Arkansas Department of Human Services in their roll out of novel provider payment mechanisms in the wake of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion. While a graduate student, Chris led the 2019-2020 Emerging Tech Policy Network with the support of the Technology and Public Purpose project within the Belfer Center at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He has written about the threat of engineered pathogens for Vox.com.