Live at
World Maker Faire 2016

The age of hacking biology in a similar manner to electronics is fast approaching. This round-table discussion will introduce the Maker community to what DIY biology is, how it is used today, and future horizons. Our panelists have extensive experience in synthetic biology from the perspectives of academia, large industrial corporations, small startups, and the arts.

Christal Gordon

Dr. Christal Gordon is an engineer and educator. She received a dual Electrical and Computer Engineering B.S. from Polytechnic University and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering (minor in Neuroscience) from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her specialties include designing, prototyping, and programming. She has designed bio-inspired and bio-interfacing systems, high-speed electronics, and models of complex systems. Her work revolves around creating systems for use by the general public, engineers, and neuroscientists. Applications of these systems include low-power consumer electronics and neural prosthesis. She's passionate about bringing science to the general public.

Ellen Jorgensen

Dr. Ellen Jorgensen is co-founder and Executive Director of Genspace, a nonprofit community laboratory dedicated to promoting citizen science and access to biotechnology. Since 2009 Genspace has served the greater New York area by providing educational outreach, cultural events, and a platform for science innovation at the grassroots level. Dr. Jorgensen is passionate about increasing science literacy in both student and adult populations, particularly in the areas of molecular and synthetic biology. She regularly mentors teams engaged in DNA-based science competitions such as iGEM (where she led gold medal-winning teams in 2011, 2014 & 2015) and the Urban Barcode Project. Five years ago she initiated Genspace’s award-winning curriculum of informal science education for adults in biotechnology and synthetic biology, which resulted in Genspace being named one of the World's Top 10 Innovative Companies in Education by Fast Company magazine. Ellen's efforts to develop Genspace into a haven for entrepreneurship, innovation and citizen science have been chronicled by Nature Medicine, Science, Discover Magazine, Wired, Make, BBC News, Dan Rather Reports, PBS News Hour, The Discovery Channel, and The New York Times. She has a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from New York University, spent many years in the biotechnology industry, and is currently adjunct faculty at New York Medical College, Scientist-In-Residence at the School of Visual Arts, and a Visiting Professor at The Cooper Union. Ellen’s talk ‘Biohacking- you can do it, too’ at TEDGlobal 2012 has received over a million views.

Karen Ingram

Karen Ingram is a creative director and artist who uses her skill set to promote scientific awareness. She is a co-organizer of the Brooklyn-based indie science cabaret, The Empiricist League. Ingram is a planning committee member of SXSW Interactive, and hosts the Biohacker Meetup. She’s the co-organizer of “BioHTP (BioHack The Planet), a conference by biohackers, for biohackers. She has presented her work globally at Synbiobeta, the AIGA, Flash in the Can, Biofabricate, Synberc, and SXSW. She served as a design track judge in at IGEM 2015. She is a co-author of a synthetic biology curriculum, “Biobuilder: Synthetic Biology in the Lab” (O’Reilly, 2015), where she crafted visual elements and teaching aides. She is a creative strategy instructor for NYU SHERP’s Entrepreneurial Science Journalism course. A veteran in the world of digital design, her work has appeared in titles from Die Gestalten (Berlin), Scientific American, New Riders publications, Computer Arts magazine and The FWA, where she was named a “Digital Pioneer”. Ingram has contracted with Campfire, McCann Erikson (yes, that McCann), and UNICEF, to name a few.

Erika Milczek

Erika was Senior Research Chemist in Process Chemistry at Merck & Co. until December of 2015 when she moved on to start Agem Solutions Inc. with her co-founder Alejandra. Erika is passionate about bringing new technology to consumer products to provide sustainable solutions to your household.