Max Görlitz

Genomics @ Oxford University
1247 karmaJoined Pursuing a graduate degree (e.g. Master's)Seeking workOxford, UK


Currently getting a master's in genomics at Oxford. My thesis is focused on optimizing probe design for bait capture sequencing for infectious disease diagnostics/surveillance. Worked on biosecurity research around far-UVC safety @SecureBio. Organized EA Munich for >2 years and did some EA community building in Germany. Studied 3 years of clinical medicine. 

Sometimes, I write about meditation and other stuff. You can find my writing on my website or Substack:

Feel free to reach out to me at my email address, and let me know if you’d like to chat: hello [at] maxgoerlitz [dot] com

(last updated in March 2024)

How others can help me

  • Help me find a full-time job starting in ~October where I can learn a lot
  • Give me anonymous feedback:
  • Chat with me about skilful living and personal growth

How I can help others

  • Give insights about my path from med student → independent biosecurity research → full-time biosecurity research
  • Discuss different takes on biosecurity issues
  • Give learnings from organizing EA Munich.
  • Besides that, I have some expertise in medicine, meditation & well-being, and effective learning techniques.


Topic contributions

I disagree with the EA Forum's approach to life

Could you elaborate on what you mean by this?

Thanks for referring to these blog posts!

Very useful comment, thanks! 

hedging against uncertainty: we're just very uncertain about what a future pandemic might look like and where it will come from

I fully agree with this; I think this was an implicit premise of mine that I failed to point out explicitly. 

... though I think for it to work you have to also add a premise about the relative risk of substitution, right?

Great point that I actually haven't considered so far. I would need to think about this more before giving my opinion. It seems really context-dependent, though, and hard to determine with any confidence.

Also, the Maginot line analogy is cool; I hadn't seen that before. (I guess I really should read more of your report 🙂)

Very cool thanks for pointing that out! I think I might have seen it before but had forgotten about it—will check it out again.

Xander, lmk if you have thought about this, and we can chat. 

What a biosafe world looks like

Basically like "What Success Looks Like" (which is about transformative AI) but instead about what a world would look like that is really well protected from catastrophic pandemics. 

It could be set in e.g. 2035, and describe what technologies and (political) mechanisms have been implemented to make the world "biosafe"—i.e. safe from global catastrophic biological risks. 

I could even imagine versions of this that are a fictional story, maybe describing the life of someone living in that potential future.

List of theory of change documents of EA orgs.

I think it would be cool to have an overview of how different organizations think about their theory of change and how they present it. This would be helpful for organizations that don't yet have a public theory of change but would like to create one. It would also be useful for getting a clearer picture of what the high-level plans of different orgs are.

Comparing different ARPAs, ARIA, and SPRIN-D

  • Could be an interesting blog post to compare the ARPAs in the US with ARIA in the UK and SPRIN-D in Germany
  • What do they have in common?
    • What are their most important differences?
    • Would be cool to summarise all these comparisons in a nice table

What would it take to eradicate all infectious diseases by 2050?

I want to see high-level abstract research what it would take to eliminate all infectious disease by a certain date, e.g. 2050 or 2080

I really liked "10 technologies that won't exist in 5 years" by Jacob Trefethen, and this post would have a similar vibe. 

do some very rough BOTECs

  • how much did it cost to eliminate smallpox?
  • how much did it cost to almost eliminate polio?
  • what other diseases have been eradicated?
  • come up with average cost of eliminating one disease
  • of course last mile is the hardest and maybe most costly
  • what other attempts at eradicating diseases failed and how much did that cost?
    • malaria

Comparing agnostic metagenomic sequencing and massively multiplexed bait capture sequencing for clinical disease surveillance and early-warning systems

This will likely be part of my lit review of my master's thesis and should also make an interesting blog post.

I am unsure whether to call it massively parallelised or massively multiplexed bait capture sequencing when you use on the order of 105-106 probes at the same time

What is agnostic metagenomic sequencing?

What is massively multiplexed bait capture sequencing? 

What are the pros and cons of the different approaches? 

  • cost?
  • amount of labor needed?
  • how quickly do you get results?
  • ...

examples of Pros of bait capture sequencing

  • “results in two to three orders of magnitude enhancement in sensitivity at a reduced cost” (Kapoor et al. 2023)
  • “mitigates Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) concerns because host sequence data are not collected” (Kapoor et al. 2023)

How are these methods different from similar, commercially available products?


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