Andrew Phillips was born in Barbados in 1977 and attended St Gabriel’s primary school. He then attended Harrison College, where he received a national award for best O-level results and was awarded a Barbados scholarship for outstanding A-level results. He studied Electronic Engineering at the National Institute of Applied Sciences in Toulouse, France and became a qualified engineer, graduating with first class honours.
He completed a postgraduate degree in Computer Science with distinction from the University of Cambridge in 2000, where he received a Churchill College scholarship for outstanding results and an award for outstanding dissertation. He then pursued a PhD in the Department of Computing at Imperial College London, under an Overseas Research Scholarship and a department scholarship, where he worked on the theory and implementation of concurrent, distributed programming languages, towards improving the reliability and security of web software.
During his studies he conducted internships at Banks Barbados Breweries, the French LAAS systems laboratory, the French Space Agency and Microsoft Research Cambridge. Following his doctorate he joined Microsoft Research Cambridge in 2005 as a postdoctoral researcher, to conduct research at the intersection of programming language theory and biological modelling. In 2010 he became the head of the Biological Computation Group at Microsoft Research, with a focus on developing theory, methods and software for understanding and programming biological systems. His work seeks to gain better understanding of how biological systems function and how to program them, to enable future applications in the detection, diagnosis and treatment of diseases at the molecular level.
In 2011 he received a Technology ReviewTR35 award for his work on software for computer-assisted genetic engineering. The award recognises the world’s leading technology innovators under the age of 35. Previous awardees include Mark Zuckerberg, the cofounder of Facebook, Jonathan Ive, the chief designer of Apple, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin, cofounders of Google. His work has been featured in the press, including Nature Nanotechnology, Science, the Guardian and the Economist.
His hobbies include snowboarding and kite-surfing, he is a black belt in Chinese kick-boxing and is a qualified ballroom dancing instructor. He was national junior chess champion by age group from 1988 -1995,and represented Barbados in two world junior chess championships.