By Paolo Pontoniere
When you ask people who know synthetic biologist and community activist David Sun Kong what stands out in their minds about the thirty-something-year-old MIT professor and community activist, you get enthusiastic answers touching on everything from his research expertise to his Renaissance-man appeal. But one thing is clear: His influence is felt far beyond the confines of his own laboratory.
Professionally, Kong is a pioneer in microfluidics, a multidisciplinary field that seeks to study, manipulate, and control streams of liquid in channels so tiny you’d be hard pressed threading a human hair through one. As a DJ, musician, photographer, writer, motivational speaker, and animator, his work often crosses boundaries. One example is Biota Beats, a microbial “record player” that translates the composition of the body microbiome into sound and music.