Competition: US & Canada
Education: California Institute of Technology
Niles Pierce is working to engineer programmable molecular instruments capable of reading out and regulating the state of biological circuitry within intact biological organisms. In this pursuit, his laboratory has contributed to the founding of the new discipline of molecular programming, developing molecular mechanisms, design principles, and computational algorithms that enable the rational design and construction of dynamic molecular devices.
Pierce is Professor of Applied and Computational Mathematics and Bioengineering at the California Institute of Technology. He graduated as valedictorian from Princeton University in 1993 with a B.S.E. in mechanical and aerospace engineering, playing trumpet with both the Princeton University Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble. Pierce then completed a D.Phil. in applied mathematics in 1997 as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, twice winning Football Cuppers as a member of the House 1st XI. Arriving at Caltech as a Senior Postdoctoral Scholar in Computational Molecular Biology in 1998, Pierce joined the Caltech faculty in 2000, and served as Executive Officer of the Department of Bioengineering during its formative years from 2007 to 2013. Pierce has received the Fox Prize in Numerical Analysis, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, and the Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching.