Liyam Chitayat aims to build cells inside cells, exploring the compartmentalization of information in living systems and evolutionary roads not taken.
Liyam is a PhD student in the computational systems biology program at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a member of the Synthetic Neurobiology Group led by Professor Ed Boyden (Hertz Fellow).
She was born in New York and grew up in Israel. At age 12, she began her double major undergraduate programs in chemistry and biology at Tel Aviv University. She graduated summa cum laude in both majors and ranked among the top 10 female students in the field of exact sciences. Her undergraduate research on phage display systems granted her the prestigious Baruch Zinger Scholarship, which is given to five students every year for pioneering research in the field of chemistry and chemical engineering.
She completed her Master’s in Biomedical Engineering and started her PhD by the age of 19. In her Master’s research, she has developed computational methods for microbiome engineering. She published two first-author articles on her work and presented at both national and international conferences. In addition to her academic experiences, Liyam held a variety of roles in industry and government. She served in the Bioengineering department at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, Directorate of Defense Research and Innovation, leading the computational biology efforts and multiple Defense Advanced Research Agency (DARPA) projects, and was awarded the 2022 Accelerator prize for innovation. Moreover, she worked as a machine learning researcher at Western Digital Corporations and researched computational ribozyme design at Augmanity Nano. She founded the Israeli chapter of the global biotech nonprofit Nucleate and is a member of the Ascola Young Scientists and 8400 The Health-tech Network.
The 2023 Hertz Summer Workshop, which took place August 3–6, 2023, at the University of California, San Diego campus, was truly a one-of-a-kind gathering filled with vibrant discussions, meaningful networking and productive collaboration.