Meredith L. Patterson, M.A., M.S.
The AP article Hobbyists Are Trying Genetic Engineering at Home said
The Apple computer was invented in a garage. Same with the Google search engine. Now, tinkerers are working at home with the basic building blocks of life itself.
In her San Francisco dining room lab, for example, 31-year-old computer programmer Meredith L. Patterson is trying to develop genetically altered yogurt bacteria that will glow green to signal the presence of melamine, the chemical that turned Chinese-made baby formula and pet food deadly.
“People can really work on projects for the good of humanity while learning about something they want to learn about in the process,” she said.
Meredith L. Patterson, M.A., M.S.
is a polymath technologist and science fiction author.
She has spoken at numerous industry conferences on a wide range of
topics. She is also a prolific blogger and software developer, and a
leading figure in the biopunk movement.
Meredith is known for her work in computational linguistics and its applications to computer security. In 2005, she presented the first parse tree validation technique for stopping SQL injection attacks at the Black Hat conference in Las Vegas with the paper Stopping Injection Attacks with Computational Theory.
She has integrated her support vector machine datamining library inside of PostgreSQL to provide a “query-by-example” extension to the SQL language, allowing DBAs to quickly and easily form complex datamining requests based on example positive and negative inputs. While this work was initially funded by Google’s Summer of Code program, her datamining work now forms the basis of her startup, Osogato, which couples the datamining database with acoustic feature extractors allowing users to create playlists from their own music collections and find new music based on the inherent properties of the music they provide as sample inputs. Osogato was launched at SuperHappyDevHouse.
Prior to founding Osogato, Meredith worked for Mu Security (now Mu Dynamics). Before that, she was a Ph.D. student at the University of Iowa. She did her undergrad in linguistics at the University of Houston and received her Masters in linguistics from the University of Iowa.
Meredith has contributed to multiple open-source database software projects, including SciTools, Klein, QBE, and written patches to PostgreSQL. Her Dejector library integrates with PostrgreSQL to implement the SQL injection approach taken in her Black Hat paper. She is also credited with contributing to the Summer of Code project Firekeeper.
As a science fiction author, she has published numerous short stories in such magazines as Fortean Bureau, Strange Horizons, in compilations such as The Doom of Camelot and The Children of Cthulhu, and is credited as contributing to the Steve Jackson Games game GURPS Villains.
Meredith frequently blogs about such issues as copyright reform, biohacking, the Military Commissions Act, Proposition 8 and civil rights issues, and programming languages on her personal blog. She has also contributed multiple articles to the popular blog BoingBoing.
In spring of 2008, she published Freezing More Than Bits: Chilling Effects of the OLPC XO Security Model with David Chaum and Len Sassaman in a USENIX workshop criticizing the lack attention paid to user privacy in the OLPC laptop.
In addition to her professional work as a bioinformaticist for Integrated DNA Technologies, she is a key figure in the biohacker movement, and has collaborated with her husband to design glow-in-the-dark yogurt using GFP plasmids. She is also working on other synthetic biology projects, such as creating a low-cost melamine contamination field test, and a strain of yogurt bacteria that completes the metabolic pathway for vitamin C, to prevent scurvy. She is a regular contributor to the DIYbio group discussions and a user of the OpenWetWare wiki.
Meredith authored Render Unto Caesar, Six Misconceptions About Orphaned Works, Leaving Devon Island, Pale Foxes, and Sonnet: On the Turning Point, and coauthored Subliminal Channels in the Private Information Retrieval Protocols, Identification of motifs that significantly associate with antisense sequence activity, and Guns and Butter: Towards Formal Axioms of Input Validation.
Meredith lives and works in San Francisco, California. A two-time CodeCon presenter, she married the co-organizer of the event, Len Sassaman, after a public proposal at CodeCon 2006. She serves in the California Army National Guard as a second lieutenant. She enjoys knitting, sewing, and target shooting.
Watch Len Sassaman & Meredith Patterson are CodeCon Valentines and We Totally Need These Stinking Badges. Read Laptops could betray users in the developing world.