Bio-Art Mixer 12

This mixer we will be meeting on April 23rd at 7:30 pm with Zhen Ma (SU, Engineering) and SymbioticA laboratory founders Ionat Zurr and Oron Catts. Following presentations, a discussion will be moderated by Ed Morris of the Canary Lab.

Ionat Zurr (Chair of the Fine Arts Discipline at the School of Design and academic coordinator of SymbioticA at the School of Human Sciences at UWA.) Oron Catts (Director of SymbioticA, the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, within the School of Anatomy and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia.)

Award-winning artists, researchers, and Curators, Catts and Zurr formed the internationally renowned Tissue Culture & Art Project in 1996. Catts is the Co-Founder and Director of SymbioticA: the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, School of Human Sciences at the University of Western Australia (UWA) and was a Professor of Contestable Design at the Royal College for the Arts UK. Dr Ionat Zurr is a researcher and lecturer at the School of Design UWA and SymbioticA’s academic co-ordinator. Both are Visiting Professor at Biofilia – Based for Biological Arts, Aalto University, Finland (2015-2020).

They have been visiting scholars at The Centre of Arts and Art History at Stanford University (2007) and Research Fellows at The Tissue Engineering & Organ Fabrication Laboratory, Harvard Medical School (2000-2001). Catts & Zurr’s interest is Life, more specifically the shifting relations and perceptions of life in the light of new knowledge and its applications. Often working in collaboration with other artists and scientists, they have developed a body of work that speaks volumes about the need for new cultural articulations of evolving concepts of life. They are considered pioneers in the field of Biological Arts; they publish widely and exhibit internationally.

Their work was exhibited and collected by museums such as Pompidou Centre in Paris, MoMA NY, Mori art Museum, NGV, GoMA, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, Ars Electronica, National Art Museum of China and more. Their research was covered by The NY Times, Washington Post, Wired, New Scientist, Time, Newsweek, Nature, Science, and other TV, radio, print, and online media. Catts & Zurr ideas and projects reach beyond the confines of art; their work is often cited as inspiration to diverse areas such as new materials, textiles, design, architecture, ethics, fiction, and food.

Zhen Ma (Samuel and Carol Nappi Research Scholar Biomedical & Chemical Engineering)

Zhen Ma is an NSF CAREER award wining Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical & Chemical Engineering and the BioInspired Syracuse Institute at the Syracuse University. He directs the System Tissue Engineering & Morphogenesis (STE-Ma) Laboratory, which focuses on human stem cells and organoid technology. Dr. Ma received his Ph.D. degree in Bioengineering from Clemson University and then worked as a postdoc at the University of California, Berkeley. His presentation will focus around stem cell organoids as miniature versions of developing organs. These living organoids exhibit a beautiful emergent pattern of various biological systems from brain to intestine. His lab generates heart organoids from human stem cells and use them as model assay for embryotoxicity studies.