clothing made from kombucha on dress form


As FIT continues to develop opportunities for integration of the sciences and design, an increasing number of students are directly applying science to their work. The Genspace scholar’s program will expand students’ understanding of biotech and support them in developing sustainable projects in areas such as textiles and alternative energy sources.  

“There are vast possibilities at the intersection of design and science that will impact sustainability, textiles, advanced design, and products,” Daniel Grushkin, cofounder and executive director of Genspace, says. “The creative talent at FIT is setting a high bar for the near and far future, and Genspace is excited to help them in their quest.”


In addition to supporting Genspace scholars, the program also offers advanced science workshops for all students. During the spring semester, Genspace hosted the following three experiential workshops.

Biological Membranes and DIY Soap Making
, in which students built physical models of lipid molecules to understand their form and function. The students used the 3D-modeling software to explore the membrane proteins responsible for vision and ATP synthase. Finally, students discussed the lipids used in soap making to create their own artisanal-quality soap.
Biohacker Bootcamp taught the basics of biotechnology techniques, including extracting DNA, analyzing ancestry through informatics, and splicing genes into bacteria.
Biomaterials Crash Course covered how to grow materials, including leather and plastic, from microbes and mycelia. Students created 3D bacterial black-light art, sculpted from mushrooms, and developed prints with plants.

closeup of jacket on dress form
symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast

Status Update

One of the current Genspace scholars is working in summer 2018 on a research project with MIT. This project is a collaboration between the engineering department at MIT and FIT. These students will also be conducting research at Genspace’s Sunset Park location.

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