César de la Fuente has been awarded a Presidential Professorship for his biomedical and engineering research and has now established his lab at Penn.
President Amy Gutmann named de la Fuente a Presidential Assistant Professor in Psychiatry, Microbiology, and Bioengineering. Gutmann awards the chair, which has a five-year term, to scholars who contribute excellence and diversity to Penn, according to Penn Medicine News.
De la Fuente’s lab is based in the Bioengineering, Microbiology, and Psychiatry departments in the Perelman School of Medicine. His lab at Penn will develop tools to investigate synthetic neuromicrobiology, a new field focused on how microbes communicate with the brain to regulate physiology and mental health.
Vice Provost for Faculty Anita L. Allen wrote in an email to The Daily Pennsylvanian that Gutmann has appointed approximately 30 Presidential Professors since 2011. Former Vice President Joe Biden was named the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Professor of Practice in 2017 while former Florida Governor Jeb Bush became the second Presidential Professor of Practice in September 2018.
In his first year as a Penn faculty member, de la Fuente is leading the Machine Biology Group. The group creates computer-made tools and medicines to find solutions to clinical challenges such as antibiotic resistance, according to Penn Medicine News.
De la Fuente received his Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology from the University of British Columbia and served as a postdoctoral associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, according to the Penn Almanac.
MIT Technology Review recently named de la Fuente one of their “35 Innovators Under 35” for 2019 this summer.
“This year’s list shows that even in our hard, cynical world, there are still lots of smart people willing to dedicate their lives to the idea that technology can make a safer, fairer world,” MIT Technology Review said in the announcement.
De la Fuente was chosen for his algorithms that create artificial antibiotics to further understand bacteria evolution, according to Penn Engineering on Medium. Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News also named de la Fuente one of the “Top 10 Under 40 of 2019,” recognizing rising stars in business and academia.