Novel low-cost rapid diagnostics for COVID-19 and beyond

Cesar de La Fuente


University of Pennsylvania

César de la Fuente is a Presidential Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he leads the Machine Biology Group whose goal is to combine the power of machines and biology to understand, prevent, and treat infectious diseases. Current application areas in his lab include developing novel approaches for antibiotic discovery, building tools for microbiome engineering, and creating low-cost diagnostics. Specifically, he pioneered the development of the world’s first antibiotic designed by a computer with efficacy in animal models, designed pattern recognition algorithms for antibiotic discovery, successfully reprogrammed venoms into novel antimicrobials, created novel resistance-proof antimicrobial materials, and invented rapid low-cost diagnostics for COVID-19 and other infectious diseases. De la Fuente is an NIH MIRA investigator, a BBRF Young Investigator, and has received recognition and research funding from numerous other groups. Prof. de la Fuente was recognized by MIT Technology Review in 2019 as one of the world’s top innovators for “digitizing evolution to make better antibiotics”. He was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Langer Prize (2019), an ACS Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry (2020), and received the Nemirovsky Prize (2020), AIChE’s 35 Under 35 Award (2020), and the ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award (2020). In addition, he was named a Boston Latino 30 Under 30, a 2018 Wunderkind by STAT News, a Top 10 Under 40 of 2019 by GEN, a Top 10 MIT Technology Review Innovator Under 35 (Spain), 30 Rising Leaders in the Life Sciences and received the 2019 Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Young Investigator Award in addition to the Young Innovator in Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) CMBE Rising Star Award, both in 2021. His scientific discoveries have yielded over 85 peer-reviewed publications, including papers in Nature Communications, PNAS, ACS Nano, Cell, Nature Communications Biology, and multiple patents.