Biology can be a design medium: scientists can now “write” DNA and manipulate microbial behavior. In the future, they could also reshape entire ecosystems. Christina Agapakis is a synthetic biologist, writer and artist who collaborates with engineers, designers, artists and social scientists to explore the many unexpected connections between microbiology, technology, art and popular culture. In this lecture, she discusses current and potential uses of biotechnology in various fields from agriculture and medicine to consumer goods and renewable energy.
Christina Agapakis is Creative Director at Ginkgo Bioworks, an organism design company based in Boston, that is bringing biology to industrial engineering. She holds a B.A. in molecular, cellular and developmental biology from Yale University and a Ph.D. in biological and biomedical sciences from Harvard University. Her doctoral thesis focused on producing hydrogen fuel in bacteria and making photosynthetic animals. Agapakis has written on biology, technology and culture for a number of outlets, has taught designers at the ArtCenter College of Design and biomolecular engineers at the University of California, Los Angeles. She is a founding editor of Method Quarterly, a magazine about science in the making.