Ph.D., Quantitative Biomedical Sciences, Dartmouth College
B.S., Biochemistry, University of Puget Sound
B.A., Biology, University of Puget Sound
Alexander Titus is a Principal Scientist at USCs Information Sciences Institute, as part of the AI Division, where his work focuses on a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning, biotechnology and the life sciences, and security and responsible technology development. Titus regularly collaborates across USC departments and with colleagues across the country and the world, and he's always looking for great people to work with. In addition to his role at USC, Titus is also an appointed Commissioner on the National Security Commission on Emerging Biotechnology (NSCEB), where he and his fellow Commissioners work with an amazing staff team to advise the U.S. government on topics across the biotech and national security interface.
Titus' career has been woven between academia, industry, and government. Before USC, Titus was the VP of Strategy & Computational Sciences at the unicorn biotech company, Colossal Biosciences, where he led a team of scientists and engineers working across bioinformatics and machine learning. His team specifically focused on building AI/ML tools for conservation and studying the genotype-to-phenotype relationships in mammals and birds to understand the design paradigms of life. The age-old adage "you can't change a tiger's stripes" just isn't true anymore.
In other past industry roles, Titus was a Strategic Business Executive at Google, where he led Google's public sector healthcare and life sciences strategy, as well as a machine learning fellow at both Amazon on the Alexa AI team and at In-Q-Tel working on secure genomic data technologies.
In government, Titus was the founding Principal Director for Biotechnology at the Department of Defense where he led a team building the DoD's first enterprise biotechnology strategy. He has advised governments on emerging technology strategies ever since and regularly works with colleagues across local, state, and federal governments.
Titus is originally from Oregon. Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, he went to college at the University of Puget Sound where he graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry, and B.A. in Biology, and a minor in Mathematics. With an ever-present passion for travel and the wilderness, after college, he took a year off of work and school and traveled through Central America and Australia. That didn't satisfy his wanderlust, so shortly after getting back from that trip he started planning and ultimately embarked on another year off where he rode his bicycle 3,000+ miles from Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, to San Francisco, California in an Arctic Circle to Silicon Valley adventure. Finally tired of living out of a backpack, Titus went to grad school at Dartmouth and graduated with a Ph.D. in Quantitative Biomedical Sciences and then started his work on AI/ML, biology, and security.
Titus' research team, the In Vivo Group, focuses on how AI/ML technologies are impacting healthcare and life sciences, and broadly how transformative AI is benefiting and impacting society. The work is loosely organized as:
- Generative Biology - How generative AI is changing our ability to design and build new biological systems.
- AI for Public Health - How we can accelerate our ability to do clinical and public health research with AI/ML tools.
- Violet Teaming - Bringing society and institutional good into our technical assessments of opportunities and risks with emerging technology. Two papers that describe the theme are here and here.
- Genotype-to-phenotype analyses - Biology is complex and AI tools can model intricate relationships in data.
- AI for Environment and Conservation - Using the latest technology to preserve and enhance our oldest resources.
- Startups and entrepreneurship - Research changes the world when it reaches the world.
- Science and technology policy - How we leverage the best of emerging technology for public benefit.
We have broad interests, so if something isn't listed but you'd like to explore working together on it, feel free to reach out any time. We're always happy to consider collaborations, co-applying for funding, or hosting new avenues of research in our lab with people who have training fellowships.