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BioDesign Challenge

October 30, 2017

BioDesign Challenge is a special topics course that will be offered this winter term and is open to all undergraduate and graduate students. Participants will work towards a coveted spot in the annual BioDesign Challenge Summit, an annual competition held in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA). Led by Professor and Director of the Design Futures Lab, Nicole Koltick, students will collaborate to develop speculative design objects or experiences that envision potential applications of biotechnology for the future. Students in the BioDesign Challenge class will work in small, interdisciplinary teams to collectively develop their project and each team will have access to scientists and engineers pertaining to the project's focus. The winning Drexel team will present their work at MOMA at the BioDesign Challenge Summit in New York City alongside participants from such schools as University of the Arts London: Central Saint Martins; Royal College of Art; School of The Art Institute of Chicago; CalArts; Parsons; Pratt; Fashion Institute of Technology; Southern California Institute of Architecture; and University of Pennsylvania, among others. 

The BioDesign Challenge is an international affair that brings together students from the top art and design colleges around the world who are developing innovative interdisciplinary projects. Participating students will gain incredible exposure by presenting to a top jury of designers, scientists, curators, and industry professionals. The winning project from each participating school will be exhibited in New York City, and select projects will travel to various venues throughout the year.  "This is an incredible opportunity for students to gain exposure for their work on an international level, as well as collaborate on a very exciting design challenge which encourages students to think very big and develop something that has the potential to change the future," commented Professor Koltick.

Koltick was approached by the BioDesign Challenge organizers this past summer, after they became aware of some of the speculative design work involving biotechnology from the Design Futures Lab. Tashia Tucker (MSAID 2013) and Design Futures Lab alumna participated this past year on a team from the Royal College of Art in London. Tashia's team came in 3rd place at the BioDesign Challenge Summit with POM, an agricultural technology that encourages flies to be more efficient pollinators by luring them using a controlled release of pheromones from a remote-controlled node, which clusters them around the flowers needing pollination.

Past teams have included Product Design, Fashion, Design, Interior Design, Design Research, Digital Media and Architecture students, but is open to all majors. Class Day/Time TBD upon student schedules. This 3-credit course is cross listed under WestT480, DSRE T680 and INTR T680. It is scheduled to meet on Thursdays from 6:30-9:20 pm. Since students will be working in small groups, other schedules should be able to be accommodated.   

Email Nicole Koltick for more information at