Colossal Labs

[ See the real science we do at Colossal ]

Across oceans.
From one continent to another.

Colossal’s de-extinction efforts span the entire globe. Connected by a network of strategically-located laboratories, each with its own identity and speciality. United by a mission to reawaken the lost wilds of Earth. Here, you can get a closer examination of our labs, our teams, our facilities and our work being performed around the world, around the clock.



To tackle de-extinction, Colossal brings together a force of more than 60 scientists spanning the breadth of modern day science.

And these renowned scientists from within our labs are tirelessly engineering world-leading, novel advances in a multitude of pursuits including:

  • Stem cell technologies for non-model species
  • Disease-resistance gene editing
  • Population genomics
  • Assisted reproductive technologies for critically endangered species

These are the foci of today. The breakthroughs of tomorrow.
And the solutions for giving yesterday another chance.


Understanding the fundamental biology of mammalian, avian and marsupial models will be key to comprehensive de-extinction and conservation pipelines for the individual species within those taxonomic ranks. These understudied organisms will not only be invaluable to species de-extinction, but also conservation and ecosystem restoration. And it all starts here. In the Colossal Labs.


Colossal Scientists /


Biosciences Teams /


Primary Lab


Global advisors /
thought leaders


Postdocs funded
by colossal


partner labs

Primary Labs



Embryology, Cellular Engineering, Computational Biology, Stem Cell Reprogramming, Exo-Dev

Our headquarter lab in Dallas is home to our de-extinction work on all species including the woolly mammoth, thylacine, dodo and future species restoration. Activities in this lab range far and wide, notably including tissue and sample processing for critically endangered species, contributing to Colossal’s ever growing repository of biobanked cell lines and gametes, stem cell reprogramming technologies for non-model species such as elephants and marsupials, and genome engineering to restore lost species and improve genetic health and genome diversity among collapsing populations at risk of extinction.

COLOSSAL // Boston Lab


Embryology, Cellular Engineering, Computational Biology, Stem Cell Reprogramming, Exo-Dev

In addition to our lab headquarters in Dallas, Colossal directs a strategic lab branch in downtown Boston. To facilitate our key partnership with George Church’s laboratory, our talented scientists working on the mammoth project focus on cell, stem and genome engineering to advance progress in our flagship project. Our protein engineering group is also vital to understanding species-specific differences in core targets.



Embryology, Cellular Engineering, Computational Biology, Stem Cell Reprogramming, Exo-Dev

Colossal’s scientists are honored to partner with Harvard University and our co-founder Dr. George Church to advance de-extinction and ex-utero gestation. George Church is the recognized father of functional de-extinction and a pioneer of synthetic biology. His leadership is a critical component to our mission and success. Together, our sponsored research agreement supports over 20 talented scientists to realize the vision of species restoration through advancements in computational biology, multiplex genome engineering, in vitro gametogenesis and artificial wombs.



Embryology, Cellular Engineering, Computational Biology, Stem Cell Reprogramming, Exo-Dev

The TIGRR Lab, led by Dr. Andrew Pask, is at the forefront of all advancements in marsupial assisted reproductive technology, stem cells, and embryology. Including the lab’s unrivaled understanding of all things reproductive in marsupials, TIGRR is also working on characterizing regulatory elements involved in craniofacial morphology, evolutionary developmental biology as it relates to patterning and coat colorations, and derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells and embryonic stem cells of marsupials for preservation of species. And to further the point, if the thylacine does have a true advocate and soon-to-be-savior, it’s Dr. Pask.


Partner Labs

Our work doesn’t stop within our own walls. It continues around the world, around the clock with leading educational and research institutions. Ensuring our mission is supported not only internally, but also externally by the scientific and intellectual community at large.



There are many pieces to the de-extinction puzzle. Each its own discipline which requires intense study, hard-earned experience and unceasing commitment to protecting our planet and its inhabitants.

Genome Engineering

Thanks to our partnership with Dr. George Church, Colossal is at the forefront of the science of genome engineering, also referred to as genome editing. Our team has access to the most advanced tools and decades of Harvard-backed research to empower us to alter genetic code at new leves of safety and precision.


Colossal is home to a world-renowned team of embryologists, working on groundbreaking research in the field of embryo culture and interspecies somatic cell nuclear transfer that will make cloning a viable option for critically-endangered species.

Computational Biology

Our computational team is working to build high-quality reference genomes for all endangered species for genomic preservation and establishing the baselines for population health assessment. Sequencing endangered species for the first time ever allows us to investigate areas of the genome that are under advanced selection or evolution and to characterize main drivers involved in ecological niche-driven phenotypes such as coat patterning and coloration, size, and novel herbivore or carnivore body structure.

Exogenous Development

Establishing in-vitro embryo culture, maturation and development is instrumental in the preservation and restoration of species at the brink of extinction. Our technology will help protect and reduce interference on endangered populations as an enormous amount of energy expenditure is required for gestation and is often unsuccessful due to fractured populations, late sexual maturity and extremely long gestation times.

Stem Cell

The ability to reprogram any cell type and derive stem cells gives scientists and conservation biologists access to cell types, such as gametes, that otherwise would have been unretrievable in species at risk of extinction and are essential to re-establishing healthy populations.

Cellular Engineering

Colossal is developing the world’s most robust cell culturing system, taking in any available sample from endangered species and establishing cell lines with novel media formulations. These cell lines are characterized through karyotyping, cell-cycle analysis, and next-generation sequencing that produces in-depth analysis of endangered species lines.

Animal Husbandry

Our world-class team of dedicated animal care and husbandry experts focus everyday on providing optimal wellness for all animals in our care. In addition to accelerating the development of advanced reproductive technologies such as in-vitro fertilization and ovum pick up, our team is developing cutting-edge husbandry and care strategies for the species we are restoring from extinction.


Eriona Hysolli, ph.d.

Head of Biological Sciences - Mammoth Lead
Colossal Biosciences

“Many dream of embarking on an extraordinary journey. Few get to do so. I’m fortunate to be one of the lucky few. Changing the animal world, and therefore ecosystems for the better, inspires me everyday. I’m even more fortunate to work alongside so many incredible individuals who are firmly committed to realizing this vision for all our species. But I’m particularly thankful for all our relentless scientists who’ve embarked in this mammoth journey at Colossal.”

[ DIVISION 01 /// Genome Engineering ]


What is Genome Engineering?

Genome Engineering sits at the core of de-extinction – remodeling the intact DNA of the closest living relative to that of the extinct species. This platform leverages cutting-edge genome editing modalities combined with DNA synthesis to make precise changes to the DNA in single bases or in bulk, in a multiplexable fashion. The essence of an organism is determined by its DNA, thus making key changes to genetic regions associated with desired traits, will restore a functional version of the organism that is best suited for restoring the health of our ecosystems.

Division Roles & Highlights

Michael Abrams is a genome engineering lead and a graduate of UT Southwestern. His expertise in immunity and host defense against pathogens, his work on Alzheimer’s disease, and his impressive publication record convinced us of his fantastic record as a scientist. Michael’s journey from academia to Colossal’s ambitious goals, and excelling at radically engineering the genome of elephants, validates our model of rewarding brilliant scientists with opportunities that change the world. He and his team are taking genome editing to new heights, and we can’t wait to show this progress to the research community!

  • Designs all editing modalities for systematically targeting all loci that were bioinformatically identified as targets for de-extinction and trait engineering.
  • Builds all expression systems and vectors needed to engineer the desired edits for functional de-extinction.
  • Iterates and innovates on multiplexing approaches to scale up genome engineering to levels never approached before in synthetic biology.


Why is Embryology Important?

Embryology is the science of understanding embryo development and life at its earliest stage. The discipline is core to de-extinction and our mission of conservation for endangered species. Our talented team of embryologists across species micro-manipulate embryos to achieve success for our roster of animals in study. Embryo development is also a prerequisite expertise in the pursuit of exogenous gestation.

Division Roles & Highlights

Dr. Leyi Li is Associate Director of Embryology and a pioneer of equine nuclear transfer protocols, and with multi-species expertise in ART. He supports Colossal species teams with state-of-the art laboratory build-out and embryo manipulation techniques. He joined Colossal as its first embryologist.

  • Implements IVF, somatic cell nuclear transfer, gamete cryopreservation and more protocols essential to Colossal’s mission.
  • Synchronizes with partners and animal sciences teams to coordinate implantation, surrogacy and animal care for de-extinction and conservation.
  • Engineers adaptable and disease-resistant embryos to ensure thriving
    herds for rewilding in the future.

EmbryologY Lab

Laboratory tour MODULE

Stem Cell

What is Stem Cell Reprogramming?

Stem Cell Engineering is the science of reversing time for cells. The field is fundamental for engineering cells into an earlier developmental stage, and then back to desired matured stages using chemicals and transcription factors. Generation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) earned Shinya Yamanaka a Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine and has since revolutionized stem cell biology. Deriving non-model organism iPSCs is not only crucial for Colossal’s de-extinction work, but also fundamental for conservation as it can be used to study development and disease, drug screening, cell therapies, and very importantly, they are the gateway to deriving gametes in vitro.

Division Roles & Highlights

Dr. Evan Appleton is Head of Stem Cell Biology with strong expertise in
bringing together transcription factor library screening and evolution, and computational workflows of lineage determination and cell-type classification. He is tremendously passionate about non-model stem cell engineering across all species of interest at Colossal.

  • Employs multiple methodologies to derive iPSCs from non-model organisms crucial to de-extinction and conservation.
  • Screens transcription factor sequences to derive different cell types to be used for functional assays and in vitro gametogenesis.
  • Develops pipelines to enhance reprogramming protocols with novel sequences and factors.

Dunnart Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs)

[ endoderm //// gata4 ]
[ mesoderm //// vimentin ]
[ ectoderm //// ecad pax6 ]


Laboratory tour MODULE

Ask our

[ IMPORTANT QUESTIONS ABOUT THE SCIENtific research we are doing at colossal ]

Is it really possible to de-extinct dinosaur species?

In order to de-extinct any species you need well-preserved DNA. However, non-avian dinosaurs lived between about 245 and 66 million years ago, in a time known as the Mesozoic Era.

Studies show that DNA has a half-life of 521 years and even at an ideal preservation temperature of −5 ºC, DNA is fully unsequenceable after roughly 6.8 million years.

Therefore, from the perspective of DNA preservation, it’s not currently possible to bring back dinosaurs. Furthermore, Colossal is myopically focused on the restoration of the woolly mammoth, thylacine, and dodo to their native ecosystems in order to fulfill the ecological void left from their extinctions.

Is this going to be like Jurassic Park? Didn’t we already learn that lesson?

While our team is fond of the movies, Colossal’s work is rooted in disruptive conservation and motivated by a desire to create healthier ecosystems for all living creatures.

We’re working with the world’s top scientists and bioethicists to ensure our de-extinction work is executed safely and ethically. Thanks to our world-renowned scientific advisory board, we’re confident that we’re entering the conservation world at a pivotal moment and that our thoughtful disruptive conservation techniques will radically change how we combat climate change and the loss of biodiversity.

Does Colossal have plans to de-extinct other species?

Our team is intensively centered around the woolly mammoth, thylacine and dodo. However, our de-extinction priorities are to target keystone species, which play an invaluable role in maintaining the health of ecosystems. Therefore, our priority is to bring back species which will fill the ecological void that was created when they went extinct, while helping restore the degraded ecosystem.

In the Arctic, a crucial region for preventing climate change, we are thus prioritizing the woolly mammoth because it played a critical role in ecosystem functions which collapsed in the late Pleistocene era. Outside of the Arctic, we are focused on the thylacine for similar reasons. The dodo’s posthumous celebrity as the symbol of human driven extinction places a responsibility on us to return them to the habitat they once inhabited peacefully and its de-extinction will provide a platform to develop technologies that will enable bioengineering-based conservation of living avian species.

As we make progress on these projects, we’ll constantly evaluate other species for which de-extinction efforts can have a positive impact on the ecosystem and advance conservation science.

Our overarching vision is to preserve life in all its forms. We’re leveraging our technological developments while collaborating with on-the-ground species partners to establish holistic, modular toolkits which can be adapted to additional species as need be. We’re remaining thoughtful and intentional in the way we harness this work to positively impact all species: extinct, extant and ensuing.

What is the process and timeline for
the de-extinction of Colossal’s species?

The de-extinction of the woolly mammoth has been led by Colossal Co-Founder and Lead Geneticist, George Church, Ph.D. for the last two decades. The process requires 11 distinct steps, from DNA sequencing to gestation. In regards to timeline, elephants have one of the longest gestation periods of any animal at 22 months. Accounting for this, we aim to have our first calves within four to six years.

The de-extinction of the thylacine, which has been spearheaded by Andrew Pask of the University of Melbourne for the last two decades, requires 10 distinct steps.

The genomes of the thylacine and one of its closest living Dasyurid relatives need to be sequenced, after which marsupial cell lines must be established before beginning to gene edit the hundreds of thylacine loci into a host genome. Thereafter, we must generate the thylacine embryo, implant it into a surrogate dunnart mother for gestation (8-42 days), and transfer it to an external artificial pouch for maturation. As firm believers in radical transparency, we will publicly share all significant progress throughout this process.

The de-extinction of the dodo, which is led by Colossal's Chief Science Officer, Beth Shapiro, Ph.D. along with collaborators Tom Gilbert and John Fjeldsá from the University of of Copenhagen, requires 7 intricate steps, starting with identifying and analyzing the dodo and host genomes to predict mutations affecting phenotypes and ending with producing living dodos through a surrogate system.

At this stage, executing the steps described in our high level de-extinction process, and predicting how mutations affect adaptation and speciation will be imperfect. We aim to assess our engineering efforts at the two year mark to better understand what additional efforts may be required, if any.

Is Colossal resurrecting, cloning
or genetically recreating species?

By definition, to “resurrect” is “to restore life; revive the practice, use or memory of (something); bring new vigor to.” To “recreate” is “to create again; reproduce; re-enact.” Colossal Labs are leveraging CRISPR-based genetic engineering and other technologies to reproduce close approximations (not clones) or extinct species’ genomes in order to restore the species to life.

Through de-extinction, we are thus genetically recreating genomes in order to resurrect species. For context, our Dictionary of De-Extinction provides background on the semantics of de-extinction.

Will Colossal’s de-extinct species be
genetically identical to the original ones?

The genomes of Colossal’s de-extinct species will be reconstructed by genetically engineering those of their closest living relatives. Therefore, while it is not currently possible to bring back an extinct species that is genetically, behaviorally, and psychologically identical in every way, they’ll have all core biological traits of recently extinct ancestors.

They will walk like them, look like them, sound like them, and most importantly, behave like them – fulfilling their original ecological roles within the native ecosystems impoverished by their disappearance.

What’s the likelihood of success?

Everything is in place to make de-extinction a reality. The technology for genome engineering already exists and our scientists are making significant progress on the assisted reproductive technologies necessary for each unique species as well as optimizing the editing techniques.



What is Computational Biology?

Computational biology is the application of modern computing techniques to study and design biological systems. It starts with leveraging simulations, statistics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to study variation in the genome and how that variation relates to specific traits, or phenotypes, of interest. Once this genotype-to-phenotype relationship is understood, new methods can be used to design biological systems that express the traits of interest. In addition to the insights gained from analysis, new tools are constantly being developed to leverage the latest innovations in computing to make de-extinction a reality.

Division Roles & Highlights

The computational biology division works with teams across the entire company, including our species teams as well as our conservation, hardware and wetware efforts. The division includes teams specializing in Genotype-to-Phenotype (G2P) analysis, artificial intelligence & machine learning, bioinformatics engineering, and data engineering.

The Genotype-to-Phenotype (G2P) team:

  • Specializes in understanding how genetic variation leads to traits of interest.
  • Works across species in the genetic manipulation of traits such as size, color, morphology, and physiology.
  • Engineers proteins needed for all related processes.

The Artificial Intelligence &
Machine Learning (AI/ML) team:

  • Specializes in using cutting-edge techniques to build tools that accelerate our de-extinction mission through hypothesis generation, automation, and big data.

The Bioinformatics Engineering (BE) team:

  • Specializes in building next-generation tools to understand and take advantage of the massive scale of data that Colossal generates every day.

The Data Engineering (DE) team:

  • Specializes in accelerating our de-extinction efforts with data.
  • Builds automated pipelines to collect, categorize and operationalize our data at scale.

Form BIO


Form Bio Empowers Biologists

Making computational work much faster with less effort - yielding discoveries and breakthroughs that will save the world.

  • Provide an end-to-end computational life sciences platform.
  • Simplify the research, management, analysis and sharing of data.
  • Create powerful solutions for therapeutics development and biomanufacturing.
[ DIVISION 05 /// Cellular Engineering ]


What is Cellular Engineering?

Cell engineers are the true multi-taskers of Colossal. Workflows in this department include cryopreservation, cell derivation, cell karyotyping and characterization, sequencing, and multiplex genome editing among many other missions. Additionally, other efforts like biobanking and next-generation sequencing of DNA and RNA are core tasks here.

Division Roles & Highlights

Austin Bow is a cell engineering lead joining the scientific team at Colossal early on in its mission. He is a graduate of University of Tennessee with strong expertise in biomedical engineering, specifically focusing on multipotent stem cells and 3D scaffolding/bioprinting of biomaterials for osteogenic wound repair. Austin’s passion for cutting edge science, teamwork and collaboration quickly stood out, and Colossal is so excited to see him grow from academia into a leadership position so effortlessly. He alongside all Colossal cell engineers will ensure the scientific goals are achieved in record time.

  • Contributes to all Colossal pipelines by engineering healthy propagating cells across target species.
  • Integrates genomics analysis data to cell and tissue characterization, multiplex genome editing, and iterative cycles thereof.
  • Ensures that Colossal’s de-extinction and conservation pipelines are robust, reproducible and will lead to success in each target species project.



Sara Ord

Director of Species Restoration - Thylacine Lead
Colossal Biosciences

“Colossal is developing novel technology that empowers our scientists to derive and culture cell lines from any species - as well as any tissue sample or biological material. This is essential to the preservation of biodiversity at large and a methodology that is absent for most species.”

[ DIVISION 06 /// Exogenous Development ]


What is Exogenous Development?

Exogenous development, or ex-utero development, refers to the growth and development of an organism outside of the uterus or womb. Ex-utero development technology can aid in de-extinction efforts by providing a way to gestate and develop embryos from extinct species.

De-extinction involves using genetic engineering techniques to recreate extinct species by inserting their DNA into the genomes of closely related living organisms. However, once the DNA has been altered, there needs to be a way to develop the resulting embryos and bring them to term. One approach to this problem is to use surrogate mothers from closely related species to carry the embryos to term. However, this approach may not always be feasible, particularly if the closely related species is endangered. Ex-utero development technology offers an alternative solution. By creating an artificial womb that mimics the conditions of the uterus, scientists can gestate and develop embryos from extinct species in a controlled environment.

Division Roles & Highlights

Our Exogenous development team is multidisciplinary, consisting of pioneers in the fields of developmental biology, biomaterials, and biomedical engineering.

The Exogenous Development team is
working to develop:

  • Marsupial Artificial Wombs
  • Marsupial Artificial Pouches
  • Eutherian Mammal Artificial Wombs


[ DIVISION 07 /// Animal Husbandry ]


What is Animal Husbandry?

Animal husbandry refers to the practice of breeding, raising and caring for animals to optimize their health, productivity, and well-being. These efforts include innovating protocols to advance assisted reproduction and surrogacy techniques. As a mission-oriented organization dedicated to the preservation of animals, we take proper animal husbandry practices very seriously.

Division Roles & Highlights

Steve Metzler, Head of Animal Husbandry

Steve applies his 25 years of exotic animal husbandry experience and leadership to developing animal care strategies for endangered and extinct species.

Wendy Kiso, Ph.D., Principal Scientist of Assisted Reproduction

As one of the world’s leaders in elephant reproduction, Dr. Kiso and her team are rapidly advancing the state of the art in advanced assisted reproductive technologies.

James Kehler, DVM, Ph.D., VP, Animal Science

With decades of expertise in animal research and stem cell biology, Dr Kehler leads a team providing oversight of animal health and science.

Animal Husbandry



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Dallas Labs ///
Boston Labs ///
Melbourne Lab ///
Partner Labs ///

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