California Institute of the Arts:
Experimental Animation


William Arthur Shirey

The PhoneGus is a leather-like protective covering for smartphones that incorporates a mat of radiation-resistant Deinococcus radiodurans bacteria and radiotrophic Cryptococcus neoformans fungus. The case is meant to address consumer concerns about cell phone radiation.



Matt Reed received a BFA in Film/Video and a MFA in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts. Reed became interested in the hybridization of ancient art crafting practices, science fiction and the metaphysical. Blending 2D and 3D animation techniques in a unique colorful style all his own, as exhibited in his short films Ancient Eyes (KAFF New York and Cine UC, 2014) and Cosmic Egg (Slamdance Anarchy Program and the Tripotecha Film Festival, 2015). Reed is best known for his Creative Direction and Animation for Universal’s Bob Marley: Easy Skanking in Boston 78’ where he crafted tropical and transcendent black-light inspired animation to fill missing segments from a previously unreleased Bob Marley concert filmed in Boston Massachusetts, Matt’s hometown. He teaches at the California Institute of the Arts, where he offers courses in digital animation production, virtual reality and biodesign entrepreneurship. His current work involves brainwave interactivity in a virtual reality context, considering the potential of brainwave responsive light therapy as a possible method of treating coma patients.


Scientific Mentors

Michael Elowitz is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering, and Applied Physics at Caltech. Dr. Elowitz's laboratory has introduced synthetic biology approaches to build and understand genetic circuits in living cells and tissues. Elowitz developed the Repressilator, an artificial genetic clock that generates gene expression oscillations in individual E. coli cells, and since then has continued to design and build other synthetic genetic circuits for programming or rewiring cellular functions. His lab also showed that gene expression is intrinsically stochastic, or ‘noisy’, and revealed how this noise functions to enable a variety of cellular functions, from probabilistic differentiation to time-based regulation. Currently, Elowitz’s lab is bringing synthetic “build to understand” approaches along with dynamic, quantitative single-cell imaging, to the kinds of developmental genetic circuits that allow organisms to develop from fertilized eggs into complex multicellular organisms. In particular, his lab has focused on cell-cell communication, epigenetic memory and cell fate control processes. Most recently, working with Long Cai’s lab, his lab demonstrated a totally synthetic system called MEMOIR that allows cells to record their own histories in their genomes. Elowitz received his PhD in Physics from Princeton University, and did postdoctoral research at Rockefeller University. Honors include the HFSP Nakasone Award, MacArthur Fellowship, Presidential Early Career Award, Allen Distinguished Investigator Award, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.


Banner image: Michael D. Beckwith, The Leeds Library