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THRIVE Exhibition will Showcase Work at the Nexus of Art, Design, and Biology

photo by Elaine Young

Philadelphia’s Esther Klein Gallery will feature eminent bioartists, biodesigners, and Biodesign Challenge alumni

Thursday, April 14, 2022, Philadelphia, PA Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a student biotechnology education program and competition, and the University City Science Center have co-curated an exhibition to be held at the Esther Klein Gallery. The exhibition, THRIVE: A Biodesign Challenge Retrospective, will open on April 14 with a reception from 5:00 - 7:30pm ET.

The exhibition features works by pioneer biodesigers and bioartists, including Suzanne Anker, Ani Liu, Orkan Telhan, and Elaine Young. Also on display are 11 projects selected from the hundreds created by Biodesign Challenge alumni since 2015. Each of these pieces prompt viewers to reconsider their responsibility to each other, other species, and the planet.

“The exhibition pieces tell stories about how the world might look if the public engaged in deeper discussions about the use, ethics, and accessibility of today's technologies,” says Veena Vikayakumar, BDC Program Director and exhibition curator. Our hope is that the projects elicit a sense of optimism about a more equitable and sustainable future.”

“The emerging field of biodesign is becoming increasingly relevant as we seek new answers for global health, climate, and sustainability challenges. It is so important that we find alternative modes of production and fabrication of materials inspired by biology and living processes to achieve more balance with nature,” Angela McQuillan, Program Manager and Experience Designer, University City Science Center, says.

Select pieces in this show will be highlighted in BDC's forthcoming book, Grow the Future: Visions of Biodesign (summer 2022), which features essays by leaders in biodesign and a foreword by Paola Antonelli, senior curator of Architecture & Design and Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art.

Show dates: April 14 - June 26, 2022
Esther Klein Gallery: 3600 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104

RSVP to attend the exhibition opening on April 14

Pre-order a copy of Grow the Future: Visions of Biodesign

About Biodesign Challenge
Biodesign Challenge connects high school and college classrooms with artists, designers, and biologists to critique, create, and envision the future of biotechnology. Each June, students showcase their projects at the BDC Summit before a global audience, including 60 interdisciplinary judges who award the coveted Glass Microbe. For more information, visit

About University City Science Center
The University City Science Center is Philadelphia’s premier catalyst of entrepreneurial activity, healthcare innovation, and economic growth. Working alongside industry partners and leading research and academic institutions across the globe, the Science Center has supported over 1,000 early-stage companies. Today, the organization advances healthcare innovation from idea to the marketplace through startup support services, allocating capital, gathering the innovation community, and building inclusive STEM pathways for Philadelphia youth and adults. For more information visit

To learn more about the exhibition or speak with the curators, please contact:

Alex Kisielewski, Communications Manager, Biodesign Challenge:

Media Contact:

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