César de la Fuente is a Presidential Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he leads the Machine Biology Group. His research goal is to use the power of machines to accelerate discoveries in biology and medicine. Specifically, he pioneered the development of computer-designed antibiotics with efficacy in animal models, demonstrating the application of AI for antibiotic discovery and helping launch this emerging field. His lab has also been in the vanguard of developing computational methods for proteome mining, leading to the breakthrough discovery of a whole new world of antimicrobials. These efforts explored the human proteome as a source of antibiotics for the first time and have dramatically reduced the time needed to discover preclinical candidates from years to days.

His group was also the first to find therapeutic molecules in extinct organisms, launching the field of molecular de-extinction. Additional advances from his lab include designing algorithms for antibiotic discovery, reprogramming venoms into antimicrobials, creating novel resistance-proof antimicrobial materials, and inventing rapid, low-cost diagnostic devices for COVID-19 and other infections.

César is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) investigator and has received recognition and research funding from numerous other groups. He has received over 60 national and international awards. Most recently, he was awarded the prestigious Princess of Girona Prize for Scientific Research, the ASM Award for Early Career Applied and Biotechnological Research, and the Rao Makineni Lectureship Award by the American Peptide Society and was selected as a National Academy of Medicine Emerging Leader in Health and Medicine.

He serves on the editorial boards of more than 20 scholarly journals and is currently an Associate Editor of Drug Resistance Updates (the premier international drug resistance journal), Nature Communications Biology, Bioengineering & Translational Medicine, and Digital Discovery. He has been named a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate several times. He has given over 200 invited lectures, including numerous Keynote and Named Lectures, and his scientific discoveries have yielded multiple patents and over 120 publications, including papers in Nature Biomedical Engineering, Nature Communications, PNAS, ACS Nano, Cell, Nature Chemical Biology, and Advanced Materials.

César previously earned a PhD at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and pursued postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

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