Welcome to my biodesign portfolio!
Syn + Bio + Med + Eng
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Rachel Soo Hoo Smith

Biomedical Engineer, Synthetic Biologist

Who I Am

Biomedical Engineer, B.S. UVA 2013.

I get my energy by exciting others about design and revving people up about the potency of their own ideas. Fascinated with the idea of medical objects as an interface between biology and function, I take great joy in having helped launch UVa’s annual Medical Hackathon program and founding and managing many more organizations to convey innovative thinking and problem solving to a wide spectrum of audiences.

Beyond these pursuits, I happily engage in my love for beekeeping, tutoring for juvenile offenders, mountain biking, and trying my hardest at breakdancing!

What I Do

PhageFlag - Synthetic Engineering Venture

Co-founder and engineer of a project to develop and bring to market a novel diagnostic device for bacterial disease, based on genetic engineering and the simplicity of a pregnancy test. I operate in scientific, business, and design spheres, with a strong sense of self-starting.

Our company, PhageFlag, was based off a project birthed in iGEM and my undergraduate thesis research. In the two years following graduation, we acquired over $250,000 in funding and incubated within the University. We worked full-time on laboratory, IP, and market research. We created a processes for modifying phage and amplifying their production of signal proteins during their relationship with bacterial host mechanics. See more...

I see potential for synthetic biology to make smart materials and tools for integrated sensing and regulation.

  • Further Work in Synthetic Biology:
  • Intern at Sample6 – Phage-based Pathogen Detection and Control Company. Cambridge, Present.
  • Student of HTGAA – How to Grow Almost Anything class, of George Church and David Kong. Cambridge, Exp. Grad 2016.
  • Founding Exec team of COBL – Charottesville Open Bio Lab, DIY and SynBio community group.
  • Visiting Researcher at CIDAR– B.U., Design Automation Research and Wet Lab. Beginning Jan 2016!

  • Conferences Attended:
  • SynBioBeta SF - 2015
  • iGEM - 2015
  • iGEM - 2013


Synthetic Engineering Venture

Projects of Scale

Each piece of work shows exploration of a biological environment framed by the scale of the objects addressed (0.1nm to 1 m).

  • Ions @ 0.1-0.2nm


    • Fabricating ionic sensors in search
    • of life on Mars. See more...
  • Proteins @ 10nm


    • Developing bio-mechanical circuits
    • for Tuberculosis detection. See more...
  • Bactria/viruses @ 100-1000nm


    • Genetic engineering a living sensor
    • platform from phage. See more...
  • Blood Platelets @ 10 µm


    • Crafting biomimetic blood flow
    • for artificial organs. See more...
  • Organ assist @ 10 cm


    • Creating MedTech alternatives
    • with wax and honey. See more...
  • Human form @ 1 m


    • Fabric forms to bear the weight
    • of a mechanical heart. See more...
  • Something

Thought Engineering

Programs I have begun and/or run to spark design thinking and innovative disruption for medicine, health and all those humans.

[Link to article]

Founded Fall 2013.
Growing ever cooler, annually.

Health UnBound and Hackathons

Cultivating student-led change in health and higher education.

[Link to site and blog]

Piloted Summer 2014.
Summer '15 featured on PBS-WHJT.
4th place Veteran Hospital Design.

BioMed TechGirls and GrabCad

Redefining and redesigning upper arm prosthetics.

[Link to site]

President and Exec, 2010-2013.
with an amazing team

Engineering Students w/out Borders

Where tech intersects society in attaining basic human needs.

Flirtations in other Fields

Contact Me