Josh McGinnis

AI, Fungi, & Biological Computing

Josh McGinnis

Hello! My name is Josh and I joined In Vivo Group as a multidisciplinarian researcher to study and find ways to utilize artificial intelligence to bring practical applications of biology to society and industry.

I’m particularly interested in how we can utilize filamentous fungi to discover and produce natural products. The kingdom of fungi is generally understudied and there’s a tremendous amount of new science we can explore to make incremental process towards improving our understanding of the world.

I live in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia with my wife where nature awaits for us to explore and discover it’s biggest secrets yet.

What am I doing today?

As entrepreneur and scientist, I’m involved a variety of collaborations and projects spanning my skill set in software engineering and fungal biology.

From my fully-functional home lab, I am currently building a library of unique and novel fungal strains. Many of these strains have unique phenotypes that are awaiting further characterization and commercialization.

I’m the founder of EverymanBio. Through my work in social media, I’ve built a passionate following of biotech enthusiasts for whom I share photography and time-lapses of the microbes I isolate from the wild. It is through EverymanBio that I frequently consult with academic and industrial partners in a variety of areas including bioprospecting and screening new organisms for applications in research and/or business.

I’m also involved in exploring how AI / ML / LLMs can be utilized in biotech to accelerate genomic discovery and workflows. In particular, I’m interested in the full-range of LLMs from a scientists perspective: can LLMs can help me do my job better in the lab? Can AI/ML elucidate new insights about the genomes we mine from fungi?

What I was up to in the past?

My career in software engineering has spanned the gamut of roles and industries from Senior Software Engineer, to Software Engineering Manager to VP of Engineering, CTO and Founder.

I’ve worked for publicly-traded companies (Intuit, Amyris), unicorn and series A startups (Avant, AssetAvenue), and everything in-between. The software me and my teams have written over the years has been used to process billions of dollars in financial transactions.

In biotech, I’ve published a High Quality Full Genome Assembly of a Pestalotiopsis fungus from my home lab. I’ve collaborated with academic research labs around the world on screening my growing strain collection.

My fungal time-lapse videos have been watched by thousands of viewers and my fungal photography has been featured in numerous articles and publications.

How about a little fun?

Nothing satisfies my soul and quiets my mind more than a hike in the wilderness in complete solitude. I try and spend a few hours every week exploring the vast wilderness of the Blue Ridge Mountains and accompanying Appalachian Trail. Along the way, I will collect odd and unusual biological samples to bring back and culture from the lab.

This interplay between the natural world and scientific world, flowing between being controlled by nature and harnessing it in the lab, is incredibly fun and satisfying. It’s something I hope to help more people discover in their own lives.