On June 22nd and 23rd, 24 student teams from 22 universities around the world gathered at the Biodesign Challenge Summit at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City.

The teams, chosen from more than 400 participating students, showcased their projects and competed for prizes including the Glass Microbe. Congrats to our 2017 participants!



Overall Winner

Central Saint Martins

QUANTWORM MINE: Liv Bargman and Nina Cutler



University of Edinburgh

UK 2029: Eva Auer, Sean Greaves, and Joseph Revans

Intrexon Food and Agriculture Prize

New York University, ITP

BEECOSYSTEM: Dana Abrassart, Kadallah Burrowes, Chester Dols, and Jenny Lim



The 2017 BDC Summit gallery show’s title plays on Salvador Dali’s famous proclamation that the future of architecture “will be soft and hairy.” The student projects portrayed futures where materials, garments, foods, and more will be produced with the tools of biotech and through symbiotic relationships with other species.

The 24 projects chosen from over a hundred developed throughout 2017 by university students working with art and design professors, scientists, and subject-matter experts explored the many possible ways biotechnology may reshape our lives and environment.




Randal J. Kirk

Randal J. Kirk has served as Chief Executive Officer of Intrexon, a company helping to address some of the world’s most pressing challenges through engineering biology. Mr. Kirk is also the Senior Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Third Security, LLC, an investment management firm he founded in March 1999, and currently serves on the board of directors of Halozyme Therapeutics Inc. and ZIOPHARM Oncology Inc. He received a B.A. in Business from Radford University and a J.D. from the University of Virginia.


Daniel Kevles

Daniel J. Kevles writes about issues in science, technology, and society. His particular research interests include the history of physics, biology, scientific fraud and misconduct, biotechnology, plant and animal breeding, and illustrations of cattle, sheep, and fruits. From 1964 to 2001, he taught at the California Institute of Technology. In 2001 he joined the faculty of Yale University where he was the Stanley Woodward Professor of History and taught regularly as an adjunct in the Law School until his retirement in 2015. He received his B.A. from Princeton University (Physics) in 1960, training at Oxford University (European History) from 1960-61, and his Ph.D. from Princeton (History) in 1964.


Heather Dewey-Hagborg

Heather Dewey-Hagborg is a transdisciplinary artist and educator who is interested in art as research and critical practice. Her work has been shown internationally at events and venues including the World Economic Forum, Shenzhen Urbanism and Architecture Biennale, the New Museum, the Centre Pompidou and PS1 MOMA. Heather has a Ph.D. in Electronic Arts from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, a Masters degree from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University, and a B.A. in Information Arts from Bennington College. She is an Assistant Professor of Art and Technology Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.


William Myers

William Myers is a curator, writer, and teacher based in Amsterdam. His book Biodesign (2012), published by MoMA, identifies the emerging practice of designers and architects integrating living processes in their work. Bio Art: Altered Realities (2015), published by Thames & Hudson, profiles art that uses biology in new ways or responds to research in the life sciences that alters our notions of identity, nature, and the definition of life. His writing and exhibitions have been profiled in the journal Science, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, New York Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, Volkskrant, and Folha de São Paulo, among others.



Daniel Beiting
Research Assistant Professor, University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine

Amber Benezra
Anthropologist & Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies at NYU

Katayoun Chamany
Chair & Mohn Family Professor of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Director of the University Labs at The New School.

Kim de Mora
Director of Development at the iGEM Foundation.  

Heather Dewey-Hagborg (See Speakers)

Anthony Dunne
Dunne & Raby, Professor of Design and Emerging Technology, The New School.

Irwin Adam Eydelnant
Founder and Creative Scientific Director of Future Food Studio & BEVLAB

Paul Freemont 
Co-director & Co-founder of the Centre for Synthetic Biology and Innovation
and the National UK Innovation and Knowledge Centre for Synthetic Biology at
Imperial College London.

Jeanne Garbarino
Director of Science Outreach, The Rockefeller University

Kirby Gookin
Writer, curator, and professor of critical studies, New York University and The School of Visual Arts.

Gigi Gronvall
Senior Associate, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security & Visiting Faculty, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Denise Hoffman Brandt
Principal of Hoffman Brandt Projects, LLC and Director of Landscape Architecture School of Architecture, City College of New York.

Sarah J. Hough
Director of Communications and Strategy, ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Gillian Jarvis
Director of Design, Twist Bioscience.

Nancy J Kelley
President and CEO, Nancy J Kelley + Associates

Todd Kuiken
Senior Research Scholar with the Genetic Engineering and Society Center, NC State

Margaret MacDonald
Curator and Instructor, Maryland Institute College of Art.

Oliver Medvedik 
Co-founder, Gensapce & the Director of the Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering, The Cooper Union.

William Myers (See Speakers)

Megan Palmer
Senior Research Scholar in biotechnology policy and security at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University

Jane Pirone
Dean of the School of Design Strategies, Parsons School of Design.

Hannah Rogers
Lecturer of Science, Technology, and Society, University of Virginia.

Harris Wang
Assistant Professor in the Department of Systems Biology and the Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, Columbia University

Amy Whitaker
Assistant Professor of Visual Arts Administration, NYU Steinhardt

Elizabeth Wissinger
Professor of Fashion Studies and Sociology, City University of New York, the Graduate Center, and BMCC.

Jenifer Wightman
Scientist, educator, artist
Adjunct Professor, Parsons School of Design. 

Isabelle Wymann
Director of Communications, Evolva


Participating Schools

  • Arizona State University

  • ArtEZ University

  • California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
    Critical Studies

  • California Institute of the Arts (CalArts)
    Experimental Animation

  • Central Saint Martins

  • Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)

  • Kent State University

  • Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

  • New York University (ITP)

  • OCAD University

  • Parsons School of Design

  • Pratt Institute

  • Pratt Institute
    Industrial Design

  • Royal College of Art

  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  • School of Visual Arts (SVA)

  • University of Minnesota

  • Universidad de los Andes

  • Universidad del Istmo

  • University of Applied Sciences Saarbrücken

  • University of Colorado Denver

  • The University of Edinburgh

  • University of Pennsylvania

Student Photos Credit: Valery Rizzo