Melody Wu is an undergraduate at MIT majoring in Biological Engineering and minoring in design and environment & sustainability. She is broadly interested in the intersection of immunology, synthetic biology, and cell communication and response. In the Shalek Lab, she is working on developing a microfluidic device to tag live cells with spatial barcodes in tissue which can be paired with downstream omic profiling with the goal of elucidating how different cells may interact with each other in the disease microenvironment.

During her first few years at MIT, she has conducted research in synthetic biology engineering immune cell swarms as part of the iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) 2019 team, has worked in the Weiss Lab optimizing mammalian genetic expression through engineering promoters and using machine learning models to evaluate mammalian genetic circuit design, and also conducted research on genetic modifiers for Huntington’s in the Housman Lab.

Interested in thinking about linking biological things across scales, besides thinking about cells and how they interact with each other, she is deeply interested in thinking about how bioengineering tools can be scaled up for public health, global health, and to empower communities. Outside of research in the lab, she’s deeply involved in the MIT BioMakers, MIT Global Health Alliance, the Planetary Health Alliance, After iGEM, Terrascope, and her living communities, French House and iHouse. She enjoys creating art for fun and for science communication (check out her work on Instagram @one.touch.melody), trying and making new food from all over, and making connections!