Kristala has served on the board of directors since December 2021. She brings years of experience and deep expertise in synthetic biology, with a distinguished scientific background, and a thoughtful perspective on the field.
Kristala is currently the Arthur D. Little Professor and Executive Officer of the Department of Chemical Engineering at MIT. Her research interests are centered on the design and assembly of recombinant microorganisms for the production of small molecules, with additional efforts in novel bioprocess design approaches. Prior to joining the faculty of MIT, she spent 4 years in BioProcess Research and Development at Merck Research Labs (Rahway, NJ).
Prather has been the recipient of many awards including the Office of Naval Research Young Investigator Award (2005), a Technology Review “TR35” Young Innovator Award (2007), a National Science Foundation CAREER Award (2010), the Biochemical Engineering Journal Young Investigator Award (2011), the Charles Thom Award of the Society for Industrial Microbiology and Biotechnology (2017), and the Andreas Acrivos Award for Professional Progress in Chemical Engineering (AIChE, 2021). Additional honors include selection as the Van Ness Lecturer at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2012), as a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study (2014−2015), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS; 2018), the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE; 2020), and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE; 2020). Prather has been recognized for excellence in teaching with the C. Michael Mohr Outstanding Faculty Award for Undergraduate Teaching in the Dept. of Chemical Engineering (2006, 2016), the MIT School of Engineering Junior Bose Award for Excellence in Teaching (2010), and through appointment as a MacVicar Faculty Fellow (2014), the highest honor given for undergraduate teaching at MIT.
She holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B. S. in Chemical Engineering from MIT.