Niles A. Pierce

Professor of Applied & Computational Mathematics and Bioengineering and Executive Officer for Biology & Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology

Pierce is a co-founder of the fields of dynamic nucleic acid nanotechnology and molecular programming. The Pierce Lab at Caltech has developed principles, mechanisms, and algorithms that enable the rational design and construction of dynamic molecular devices in vitro, in situ, and in vivo. Research interests include: 1) developing dynamic nucleic acid nanotechnologies for multiplexed quantitative imaging of the molecules of life (DNA, RNA, proteins) and for rapid at-home testing for pathogens; 2) engineering small conditional RNAs (scRNAs) for cell-selective spatiotemporal control of regulation in living organisms; 3) developing physically sound, mathematically rigorous, computationally efficient algorithms for the analysis and design of nucleic acid structures, devices, and systems.

Pierce is Founder and Chair of the Board at Molecular Instruments, Inc., a life sciences startup pioneering dynamic nucleic acid nanotechnologies for multiplexed, quantitative, high-resolution bioimaging in academic research, drug development, and clinical diagnostics and pathology.

Pierce graduated as valedictorian from Princeton University with a BSE, summa cum laude, in Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering, then received a DPhil in Applied Mathematics as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. Pierce joined the Caltech faculty in 2000. He has received the Fox Prize in Numerical Analysis, a National Science Foundation CAREER Award, the Rozenberg Tulip Award, the Feynman Prize for Excellence in Teaching, and has been named a Guggenheim Fellow, a Christensen Fellow at St Catherine's College, University of Oxford, a Professorial Fellow at Balliol College, University of Oxford, and the 74th Eastman Visiting Professor at the University of Oxford

Pierce is a classically trained trumpeter, performing as a member of the Princeton University Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble and the Caltech Concert Band and Jazz Band, a competitive soccer player, twice winning the University of Oxford Football Cuppers as a member of the House 1st XI, and an avid runner and sailor. He has spent many years coaching girls' soccer and baseball in Southern California, including co-founding the LA Monarchs Girls' Baseball Club, one of the first girls' baseball clubs in America, and now 4-time national champions.