Nelson Speaker Series: Ellen Jorgensen– “Biohacking and the DIYbio Movement”

October 16, 2019 Add to Calendar

7 p.m.


Shanahan Center, Shanahan Auditorium
320 E. Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711


Office of Stewardship and Events


Lecture: “Biohacking and the DIYbio Movement”

Can grassroots innovation be applied to biology? That's the question asked by the DIYbio movement, which strives to democratize biotechnology through the creation of biomakerspaces open to the general public. The first biomakerspace opened in Brooklyn in 2010, and now there are community biolabs all over the world. What were the hurdles in creating this ecosystem of citizen scientists, and how has the movement evolved over the past ten years? Has the creation of these spaces really jumpstarted innovation? And what are the risks and benefits of amateur biology in this day and age of increasingly accessible technology?


Jorgensen is cofounder and chief science officer at Carverr, a biotech startup that safeguards supply chains and promotes sustainable practices by using biomolecules and probiotics to track and trace food and other products. In 2017, Fast Company magazine named her one of their Most Creative Leaders in Business. Jorgensen is passionate about increasing science literacy in both student and adult populations, particularly in the areas of molecular and synthetic biology. In 2009, she cofounded Genspace, a community biolab in Brooklyn that was named one of the World’s Top 10 Innovative Companies in Education. She holds a PhD in cell and molecular biology from New York University and spent over 30 years in the biotechnology industry. She is a SynbioLEAP fellow, an alumni of the Amsterdam School of Creative Leadership THNK and a member of the GP-write consortium to construct a human genome. She recently founded the nonprofit Biotech Without Borders to help provide access to biotech education to all. Her TED talks, “Biohacking: You Can Do It Too” and “What You Need To Know About CRISPR” have each had over a million views.

About the Nelson Series

Maker Cultures is about making and STEAM. The series is intended to inspire the Harvey Mudd community to create a culture for the new makerspace in the Scott A. McGregor Computer Science Center that is inclusive, creative, playful, sustainable and builds upon the College’s liberal arts environment. Maker Cultures invites the community to think beyond traditional makerspaces that make tools and materials available in a dedicated space, to maker cultures that are mobile, use living materials, re-make with recycled parts and cross disciplinary boundaries.