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Biodesign Challenge Summit 2019

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The Biodesign Challenge is shaping a new generation of biotechnologists. We partner students with scientists, artists, and designers to envision, create, and critique the future of biotech.

Join our audience of 400+ at the Museum of Modern Art and Parsons School of Design for the BDC Summit—an event that brings together finalist teams with leading voices in art, design, and biology.

Over two days, finalists showcase their projects before esteemed judges from academia, the arts, and industry to compete for prizes, including the coveted Glass Microbe. Teams were chosen from over 500 students from nine countries who worked throughout the academic year to develop their visions.

You’re also invited to join us on the evening of June 20th for our reception celebrating the opening of Life in Reply, a gallery exhibition of the student projects.

Can't make it? You can watch the livestream of Day 2 here.


Summit Day 1 - June 20, 8:30am – 6:00pm
Parsons School of Design

Tishman Auditorium
63 5th Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Opening Reception and Exhibition - June 20, 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Parsons School of Design
The Sheila C. Johnson Design Center
66 5th Avenue, 2nd Floor
New York, NY 10011

Summit Day 2 - June 21, 8:30am – 6:00pm
Museum of Modern Art

Titus 1 Theater
11 West 53rd Street
New York, NY 10019



Student Projects from the Biodesign Challenge

Join us for the opening of LIFE IN REPLY, an exhibition of student projects from Biodesign Challenge 2019. The title attempts to frame biotechnology from the perspective of other-than-human systems students envisioned as part of the Challenge. Student projects portray materials, garments, foods, etc. created from the relationships they’ve developed with other species.

The 36 projects were chosen from 100+ developed throughout 2019 by university and high school students working with artists, designers, and scientists to explore the many possible ways biotechnology reconfigures humanity’s relationship with the living world.


  • Ball State University
  • California College of the Arts
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • The City College of New York
  • Columbia University
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Emily Carr University of Art + Design
  • Fashion Institute of Technology
  • Grace Church School
  • Harvard University
  • Higher School of Economics, Moscow
  • Kean University
  • Keio University
  • Massachusetts College of Art and Design
  • McGill University
  • The Nest
  • New Design High School
  • Parsons School of Design
  • RMIT University
  • Rutgers
  • Universidad de los Andes
  • Universidad del Istmo
  • The University of British Columbia
  • UC Davis
  • University of Cincinnati
  • University of Michigan
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Technology, Sydney
  • University of Toledo
  • Zurich University of the Arts


Paola Antonelli joined The Museum of Modern Art in 1994 and is a Senior Curator in the Department of Architecture & Design, as well as MoMA’s founding Director of Research & Development. She has curated numerous shows at MoMA and in other international institutions, lectured worldwide, and has served on several international architecture and design juries. She has taught at the University of California, Los Angeles; the Harvard Graduate School of Design; and the MFA programs of the School of Visual Arts in New York.

The recipient of a Master’s degree in Architecture from the Polytechnic of Milan in 1990, Paola Antonelli holds Honorary Doctorate degrees from the Royal College of Art and from Kingston University, London, from the Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, and from Pratt Institute in New York. She earned the “Design Mind” Smithsonian Institution’s National Design Award in October 2006, and in 2007, she was named one of the 25 most incisive design visionaries by Time magazine. In 2011, she was inducted in the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame, and in 2015, she received the AIGA Medal.

Natsai Audrey Chieza is a designer and change-maker working at the intersection of creative and biotechnology industries. She is Founder and Director of Faber Futures, a London-based biodesign agency that is catalyzing the alignment of DNA-scale engineering with the methods and principles of critical design thinking for the circular economy. In her 2017 TED Talk, Chieza offers a glimpse into the future of a synthetic biology industry primed to transform the creation and circulation of goods and services. Her manifesto lays out how this emerging technology converges with craft and interacts with the contemporary realities of resource scarcity, climate change, and sustainable development.

A background in Architectural Design and Material Futures, Chieza’s pioneering design-driven practice with bacteria pigments for sustainable textile finishing has been exhibited at prestigious institutions including at the Pompidou Centre, Vitra Design Museum and the Science Gallery Dublin, and sits in permanent collections including at the Forbes Pigment Collection at Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge MA. She is on the founding and curatorial team of Ginkgo Bioworks’ Ginkgo Creative Residency in Boston MA and has taught on biodesign programmes at Bartlett School of Architecture and Central Saint Martins in London. An influential international speaker on the confluence of design, technology and science, Chieza was an honouree of OkayAfrica’s 100 Women 2018 for her work in STEM and is named on ICON Magazine's 2019 ICON Design 100 list under High Tech and Innovation.

Jane Pirone is an Associate Professor of Communication Design & Technology and Dean of the School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design. Her research focuses on methods of interdisciplinary and collaborative practice through projects that leverage the creative and critical use of new technologies, design, media, strategy and entrepreneurial approaches, while prioritizing advocacy, activism, and social and environmental justice.

Jane has been the founding member of the Datamyne Project (MYNE), the Urban Research Toolkit (URT) and the urbanBIKE initiative. She served as Director of the Communication Design program from 2006 - 2011. Jane was the founder/creative director of Not For Tourists, drummergirl.com, and the award winning design firm, Happy Mazza Media, working with clients such as Nickelodeon, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, IBM, and the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center.

Antonio Regalado is the senior editor for biomedicine for MIT Technology Review, where he writes about how technology is changing medicine and biomedical research. Before joining MIT Technology Review in July 2011, Antonio lived in São Paulo, Brazil, where he wrote about science, technology, and politics in Latin America for Science and other publications. From 2000 to 2007, he was the science reporter at the Wall Street Journal. Antonio graduated from Yale University and holds a master’s degree in journalism. He lives in Boston with his family.

Sarah Richardson is a cofounder of MicroByre, a company that is changing the bioengineering landscape by converting stubborn non-model species into genetically tractable strains within which the techniques from model organisms can be practiced. A computational and molecular biologist, Dr. Richardson specializes in the design of genomes. Dr. Richardson earned her B.S. in Biology at the University of Maryland College Park; with the support of a prestigious DOE Computational Science Graduate Fellowship she earned a Ph.D. in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. As a Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellow of Genomics at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory she worked on massive scale synthetic biology projects and the integration of computational genomics with experimental genomics. In 2015, she was named a SynBio LEAP Fellow, based on her “leadership potential and vision for shaping a future in biotechnology.” In 2015 she was also one of five promising young female scientists to receive a postdoctoral fellowship award from L’Oréal USA; she proposed to study CRISPR systems and the domestication of non-model bacteria.


  • Sedef Uncu Aki, Orta

  • Aleksandra Gosiewski, AlgiKnit

  • Debra Guo, Stella McCartney

  • Ryan Hoover, MICA

  • Matilda McQuaid, Cooper Hewitt

  • William Myers, author of Biodesign

  • Theanne Schiros, FIT

  • Sarah Spitz, Bateman Group

  • Orkan Telhan, Biorealize

  • Jiwon Woo, Hypha Design


  • Christina Agapakis, Ph.D., Creative Director, Ginkgo Bioworks
  • Julia Buntaine Hoel, Founding Director and Editor-in-Chief, SciArt Center and Magazine
  • Carrie Cizauskas, DVM, Ph.D., Manager of Publishing and Academic Relations, Zymergen, Inc.
  • Katayoun Chamany, Chair and Mohn Family Professor of Natural Sciences and Mathematics; Director of the University Labs at The New School
  • Natsai Audrey Chieza, Founder and Director, Faber Futures
  • Victoria Colangelo, Senior Vice President, MANA
  • Alison Cutlan, Founder, Cutlan Lab and Studio
  • Michelle Millar Fisher, Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts and Design, Philadelphia Museum of Art
  • Michael J. Flanagan, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, FlanaGen LLC
  • Laura Forlano, Associate Professor of Design, The Institute of Design; Affiliated Faculty in the College of Architecture, The Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Paul Freemont, Co-founder and Co-Director, National UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Synthetic Biology
  • Danya Glabau, Ph.D, Founder of Implosion Labs, LLC
  • Christine Gould, Founder, Thought For Food (TFF) Foundation
  • Karen Hogan, CEO and Cofounder, Biorealize, Inc.
  • Ryan Hoover, Artist, Researcher, and Professor of Digital and Biological Fabrication, Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Karen Ingram, Creative Director, Designer, and Co-Author, Biobuilder: Synthetic Biology in the Lab
  • Gillian Jarvis, Director of Design, Twist Bioscience
  • Nancy J Kelley, President and CEO, Nancy J Kelley + Associates
  • Grace Knight, Industrial Designer, Ecovative
  • David Sun Kong, Ph.D., Synthetic Biologist and Director, MIT Media Lab's Community Biotechnology Initiative
  • Todd Kuiken, Ph.D., Senior Research Scholar, North Carolina State University
  • Ani Liu, Lecturer in Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
  • Margaret MacDonald, Ph.D., Research chemist for the US Army Futures Command; part-time faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Laura Maher, Program Manager, Siegel Family Endowment
  • Melissa Marra-Alvarez, Curator of Education and Research, The Museum at FIT
  • Leslie Mitchell, Postdoctoral Fellow, Jef Boeke Lab at NYU Langone
  • Elliott Montgomery, Assistant Professor, Strategic Design, Parsons School of Design; Co-Founder of The Extrapolation Factory
  • William Myers, Curator, Teacher, and Author of Biodesign
  • Naomi Nakayama, Royal Society University Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
  • Ann Neumann, Director of Galleries, MIT Museum
  • Matteo Padovani, Innovation Designer, Adidas Futures Team
  • Hemai Parthasarathy, CSO and Partner, Breakout Ventures
  • Jane Pirone, Associate Professor of Communication Design & Technology and Dean of the School of Design Strategies, Parsons School of Design
  • Jeanne Pfordresher, Adjunct Associate of Pratt Institute Industrial Design, Partner Hybrid Product Design
  • Sukanya Punthambaker, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School
  • Fiona Raby, Dunne & Raby
  • Antonio Regalado, Senior Editor, MIT Technology Review
  • Tarah Rhoda, Manager, SVA Bio Art Laboratory, School of Visual Arts
  • Sarah Richardson, CEO, MicroByre
  • Simone Ross, Cofounder and Chief Program Officer, Techonomy Media
  • Andrew Scarpelli, Assistant Professor, National Louis University
  • Theanne Schiros, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Science and Sustainability, FIT
  • Anja Scholze, Ph.D., Program Director for Biology + Design, The Tech Museum of Innovation
  • Cecilia Takayama, Director of the Materials Innovation Lab, Kering
  • Orkan Telhan, Ph.D., Co-founder and Chief Design Office, Biorealize, Inc. and Associate Professor of Fine Arts, University of Pennsylvania
  • Danielle Trofe, Founder, Danielle Trofe Design
  • Sedef Uncu Aki, Director of R&D and Planning and Operations, ORTA
  • Harris Wang, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Systems Biology, Columbia
  • Jake Wintermute, Head Teacher and Organizer, syntheticbiology1.com
  • Jiwon Woo, CEO and Creative Director, hypha design


Parsons School of Design
Tishman Auditorium

63 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003

Nearest Trains:

4, 5, 6 - 14 St - Union Square

1, 2, 3 - 14 St - Union Square

N, Q, R - 14 St - Union Square

L - 14 St - Union Square

F, M, L - 14 St / 6 Av

Nearest Parking:

Icon, 110 E 16th St

(212) 473-9056

2 Hours: $35

iPark, 7 East 14th Street

(212) 691-5786

2 Hours: $35

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1
11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

Please check in at The Ronald S. and Jo Carole Lauder building entrance (MoMA Film entrance) east of the main entrance on W 53rd St.

Nearest Trains:

E, M - 5 Ave/53 St

B, D, F, M - 47 - 50 St - Rockefeller Center

N, Q, R - 57 St - 7 Ave

F - 57 St

1 - 50 St

Nearest Parking:

Icon Parking, 57-59 W 53rd St,

(212) 586-0169

2 Hours: $25

Modern Parking, 666 Fifth Ave.

(212) 581-1154

2 Hours: $30

ParkServ LLC, 140-166 W. 53rd St.

(212) 397-9028

2 Hours: $25

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