Students to Co-Host First Online Biodesign Symposium April 21

April 19, 2021 | Events, News, UToday, Arts and Letters, Engineering, Natural Sciences and Mathematics
By Angela Riddel

As a bridge that connects art, design and biotech, biodesign is finding its way into education institutions worldwide as a way to reimagine a more sustainable and thoughtful future.

Over the past several years, The University of Toledo and students studying art, engineering and environmental sciences have regularly developed teams to compete in the international Biodesign Challenge.


Because of the global pandemic, The University of Toledo postponed the course until spring 2022; however, the Biodesign Challenge, the University of Cincinnati, and The University of Toledo are productively using that downtime to further develop the biodesign regional community.

These organizations are co-hosting a free online symposium to bring together the biodesign community across the Midwest. The event kicks off at 1 p.m. Wednesday, April 21, with a regional Hub for biodesign practitioners, research institutions and students to share resources, collaborate on projects and develop new teaching practices. For complete details and registration, visit the Biodesign Symposium’s website.

University of Toledo artists and assistant professors Brian Carpenter and Eric Zeigler are among experts throughout the Midwest scheduled speak about their work and ambitions for biodesign. And Biodesign Challenge alumni will offer short talks about their projects and design processes as well.

The event’s keynote speaker, Dr. Laura Forlano, will address the group after several breakout sessions and presentations. Forlano, a Fulbright award-winning and National Science Foundation-funded scholar, is a writer, social scientist and design researcher. She is an associate professor of design at the Institute of Design and affiliated faculty in the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology, where she is director of the Critical Futures Lab.

Educational institutions, members of the business and science communities and the general public are invited to participate in this informative discussion. The ideas generated during this symposium will positively impact the future of biodesign.

Forlano’s research is focused on aesthetics and politics at the intersection of design and emerging technologies. In the last decade, she has studied the materialities and futures of socio-technical systems, such as autonomous vehicles and smart cities; 3D printing, local manufacturing and innovation ecosystems; automation, distributed labor practices and the future of work; and computational fashion, smart textiles, and wearable medical technologies.

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