Biodesign and the Future of Life

Biodesign and the Future of Life

On Thursday 16 November at 3pm CET Fabrica presents an online lecture by Daniel Grushkin and Elizabeth Hénaff titled Biodesign and the Future of Life.

People don’t usually think of life as a technology. They may think of life as sacred. They may think of life as beyond the bounds of human control. But harnessing life is among the oldest of human endeavors. Today, the power, precision, and scale with which we harness life is unrivaled largely because of advances in genetics and synthetic biology. In this session, Daniel Grushkin and Dr. Elizabeth Hénaff will discuss how groups of artist, designers, and scientists are manipulating living things to create artworks and applications that herald a new relationship between humanity, design, and the living world.

Daniel Grushkin is Founder of Biodesign Challenge, an international student competition and education program that partners artists, designers, and scientists with students to imagine and create the future of biotechnology. He is the Editor of the biodesign anthology, Grow the Future and co-founder of Genspace, a nonprofit community laboratory dedicated to promoting citizen science and access to biotechnology. He was a Fellow at Data & Society and at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and an Emerging Leader in Biosecurity at the John Hopkins Center of Health Security. As a former journalist, he has reported on the intersection of biotechnology, culture, and business for publications including Bloomberg Businessweek, Fast Company, Scientific American and Popular Science. He is currently a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome.

Dr. Elizabeth Hénaff is a computational biologist and designer. She is currently Assistant Professor at the Technology, Culture and Society department at the New York University Tandon School of Engineering. At the center of her research is a fascination with the way living beings interact with their environment. This inquiry has produced a body of work that ranges from scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals, to collaborations with landscape architects, to artist residencies in environments from SVA to the MIT Media Lab. Her academic trajectory started with a Bachelors in Computer Science, followed by a Master’s in Plant Biology (both from UT Austin) and a PhD in Bioinformatics from the University of Barcelona, followed by postdoctoral work at Weill Cornell Medicine and the MIT Media Lab.

Grushkin and Hénaff‘s lecture is part of Fabrica’s “Co-ecologies” residency program curated by Carlos Casas.

If you wish to attend the lecture, write us at

Thursday 16th Nov 2023 — 15:00 - 16:00