César de la Fuente

Presidential Assistant Professor

University of Pennsylvania



César de la Fuente is a Presidential Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, where he leads the Machine Biology Group. His research goal is to combine the power of machines and biology to help prevent, detect, and treat infectious diseases. Specifically, he pioneered the development of the first computer-designed antibiotic with efficacy in animals and discovered the first therapeutic molecules in extinct organisms, launching the field of molecular de-extinction. Moreover, he designed algorithms for antibiotic discovery, reprogrammed venoms into antimicrobials, created novel resistance-proof antimicrobial materials, and invented rapid, low-cost diagnostics for COVID-19 and other infections. Prof. de la Fuente is an NIH MIRA investigator and has received recognition and research funding from numerous other groups. Prof. de la Fuente has received over 60 national and international awards. He is an elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), becoming at 36 one of the youngest ever to be inducted. He was recognized by MIT Technology Review as one of the world’s top innovators for “digitizing evolution to make better antibiotics.” He was selected as the inaugural recipient of the Langer Prize and as an ACS Kavli Emerging Leader in Chemistry, and received the AIChE’s 35 Under 35 Award and the ACS Infectious Diseases Young Investigator Award. In 2021, he received the Thermo Fisher Award, as well as the EMBS Academic Early Career Achievement Award “For the pioneering development of novel antibiotics designed using principles from computation, engineering, and biology.” Most recently, Prof. de la Fuente was awarded the prestigious Princess of Girona Prize for Scientific Research and the ASM Award for Early Career Applied and Biotechnological Research. De la Fuente serves on the editorial boards of more than 20 scholarly journals and is currently an Associate Editor of Drug Resistance Updates (the premier international drug resistance journal), Nature Communications Biology, Bioengineering & Translational Medicine, and Digital Discovery. He has been named a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate several times. Prof. de la Fuente has given over 200 invited lectures (including numerous Keynote and Named Lectures), and his scientific discoveries have yielded multiple patents and over 120 publications, including papers in Nature Biomedical Engineering, Nature Communications, PNAS, ACS Nano, Cell, Nature Chemical Biology, Advanced Materials.