Laura Boykin Okalebo, Ph.D.
Senior Scientific ConsultantThe BioTeam, Inc.
Dr. Laura Boykin is currently a Senior Scientific Consultant at BioTeam and a TED Senior Fellow with 22 years’ experience with genomics and high-performance computing research and solutions for real world problems. Prior to joining BioTeam she was using portable genomics and supercomputing to help smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa control whiteflies and viruses, which have devastated cassava crops. Cassava is a staple food for more than 800 million people globally. Along with scientists in East Africa, she founded the Cassava Virus Action Project to roll out portable DNA sequencing and analysis to farmers. The team also trained local communities in the use of these technologies to tackle future outbreaks. A TED Senior Fellow, Boykin was awarded the Gifted Citizen Prize at the Ciudad de las Ideas Festival in 2017. The prize is given to the best social entrepreneurship project that is having a large-scale impact on humanity’s most pressing issues. She is one of 2019’s Wired 25—innovators who are racing to save us from ourselves. Her TED talk is found here.