Faculty Directory
Sam Kriegman

Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering

Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering


2233 Tech Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-3109

Email Sam Kriegman


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Computer Science

Mechanical Engineering

Chemical and Biological Engineering


Sam Kriegman is an assistant professor of computer science, chemical and biological engineering, and mechanical engineering at Northwestern University. His research seeks general theories of life, in which the details of carbon-based organisms would represent a special case. As we have yet to invent a time machine or the means of interstellar travel, Sam and his students design, build and breed robotic lifeforms to catch a glimpse of life as it may have arisen here on Earth or as it might exist elsewhere in the universe. Most recently, this led to the discovery of a previously unknown (kinematic) form of biological reproduction.

Sam received his PhD in computer science and the Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award from the University of Vermont in 2020. He conducted postdoctoral research in the biology department at Tufts University and Harvard University. An AI2050 Fellow and Cozzarelli Prize recipient, his creation of the world’s first computer-designed organisms (the “xenobots”; together with his three co-authors) has enjoyed widespread media attention, added a new word to the dictionary, and was displayed as an exhibit at the Design Museum in London.

Selected Publications

Kriegman, Sam, et al. "A scalable pipeline for designing reconfigurable organisms." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 117.4 (2020): 1853-1859.

Kriegman, Sam, et al. "Kinematic self-replication in reconfigurable organisms." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118.49 (2021): e2112672118.

Kriegman, Sam. "Why virtual creatures matter." Nature Machine Intelligence 1.10 (2019): 492-492.


Engineered multicellular organisms. US PCT/US2021/013105; WO 2022/005527.

Engineered multicellular ciliated organisms and the kinematic self-replication thereof. US2022/0220437.