Our Team


Executive Director

Dan is founder and director of the Biodesign Challenge. He is co-founder of Genspace, a nonprofit community laboratory dedicated to promoting citizen science and access to biotechnology. Daniel has been a Fellow at Data & Society, a Fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and an Emerging Leader in Biosecurity at the UPMC Center of Health Security. As a journalist, he has reported on the intersection of biotechnology, culture, and business for publications including Bloomberg Businessweek, Fast Company, Scientific American and Popular Science.


Veena Vijayakumar
Program Manager

Veena Vijayakumar is the Program Manager of the Biodesign Challenge. She studied Art History and Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received an MA in Museum Studies from San Francisco State University. Veena has focused on audience development and public programming at museums such as The Exploratorium and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Her research, programs, and writing highlight the value of interdisciplinary education, namely its potential to make learning richer and more accessible to non-expert audiences.


Malika Reid
Graphic Designer

Malika is an art director and product designer. Prior to becoming a designer, she did fundraising and development for several youth-based and environmental nonprofits. Her passion projects lie at the intersection of design and social good.

Executive Board


Karen Hogan

Karen is CEO and cofounder of Biorealize, Inc. She has developed and taught curricula in introductory biology, microbiology, and biological design at the University of Pennsylvania. Karen earned her BS in Environmental Biology at the University of Dayton and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from UPenn.


Christina Agapakis
Vice President

Christina is Creative Director of Ginkgo Bioworks, a biological design company based in Boston. During her PhD at Harvard, she worked on producing hydrogen fuel in bacteria and making photosynthetic animals. She has taught designers at the Art Center College of Design and bioengineers at UCLA, and she once made cheese using bacteria from the human body.


Orkan Telhan

Orkan is Associate Professor of Fine Arts - Emerging Design Practices at UPenn and Chief Design and Technology Officer at Biorealize, Inc. He has a PhD in Design and Computation from MIT. His work has shown at the Armory, Ars Electronica, MIT Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and the New Museum, among others.


Alison Irvine

Alison is the former Program Manager of the Biodesign Challenge. She graduated from Eugene Lang College with a degree in Theater and Interdisciplinary Science and studied political theater at The Freie Universität in Berlin. She is an adjunct professor at The Cooper Union and an artist-in-residence at The Innovative Genomics Institute. She has written articles on art, science, and social justice for Imagine Science Films and The Center for Genetics and Society.


Stacy Abder

Stacy is Chief Operating Officer at Data & Society. Her experience includes strategy and management consulting, business development, and client relations for The Center for Effective Philanthropy, The Chartis Group, and nonprofits across the Bay Area and East Coast. She holds an MBA with a concentration in nonprofit strategy from Yale School of Management and received her BA from Harvard University.