Sam Kriegman is a PhD student at the University of Vermont. His research focuses on the auto design of systems that are difficult to design by hand: soft robots, robot swarms, and novel organisms. He runs the Virtual Creatures Competition, has authored 15 peer-reviewed publications, and is scheduled to defend his dissertation in early September.

Douglas Blackiston is a Research Scientist in the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts University where his research program has overarching goal of understanding brain-body plasticity — the response of cell populations in vivo to alterations in patterning, local environment, and signaling from neighboring tissues. His work encompasses many diverse questions and models, from the ability of memory to survive metamorphosis in moths and butterflies, to the capacity of transplanted eyes to restore vision in blind vertebrates.

Michael Levin is the Vannevar Bush Professor of Biology at Tufts University, and the director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts. His work uses developmental biophysics, cognitive science, and computational modeling approaches to understand tissue plasticity, especially focused on bioelectrical information processing in non-neural cell networks. Working at the intersection of regenerative biology and basal cognition, his group seeks to develop new applications in birth defects, regeneration, cancer, and synthetic morphology by learning how cell collectives make morphological decisions and cracking that code to motivate them toward desired anatomical outcomes.

Josh Bongard is the Veinott Professor of Computer Science at the University of Vermont and the director of the Morphology, Evolution & Cognition Laboratory. His work involves computational approaches to the automated design and manufacture of soft-, evolved-, and crowdsourced robots, as well as living systems. A PECASE, TR35, and Microsoft New Faculty Fellow award recipient, he has received funding from NSF, NASA, DARPA, the U.S. Army Research Office and the Sloan Foundation. He has authored 34 and 76 peer-reviewed journal and conference publications respectively, and is the author of the book How The Body Shapes the Way We Think. He runs an evolutionary robotics MOOC through and a robotics outreach program, Twitch Plays Robotics.