our STAFF

Letter from the directors:

 
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Beth Tuck, MS

Director of Science Education

Beth Tuck is the Director of Science Education at Genspace. Previously, she was a genomics education specialist at the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) where she worked on enhancing K-16 genomic literacy, education, and community engagement. Her work included designing curricular resources, engaging students and teachers in hands-on genomics activities, supporting teacher professional development, and training scientists in public engagement skills. Her graduate research at Washington University in St. Louis focused on the genetics and molecular mechanisms of neurological and neuromuscular disorders.

 
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Angela Armendariz, PhD

Director of Operations

Angela was most recently the Living Systems Facility Manager at the Exploratorium, a museum of science, art, and perception, in San Francisco.  She managed the laboratory facility from 2011 until early 2018 when she moved to NYC.  Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at Children’s Hospital of Oakland Research Institute.  She has over ten years of research experience in molecular biology laboratories, and has a Ph.D. in molecular and biochemical nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley. 

 
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Leticia cartier oxley, MA

PROGRAM ASSOCIATE

Leticia Cartier Oxley is the Program Associate at Genspace. A recent graduate from the MA Design Studies program at Parsons School of Design with a bachelor’s degree in Philosophy and Literature from Regis University, Leticia’s work situates itself at the intersection of design theory and praxis. With a focus on Speculative Design, Leticia was part of the Designed Realities Lab led by professors Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby, which uses design as a catalyst for interdisciplinary discourse and imagining. Her work suggests that design can be used as a method of inquiry and imagination can be a political force within society. 

 
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Ashley Jane Lewis

Science Communication Ambassador

Ashley Jane Lewis is an Interactive Artist, Maker and Youth Tech Educator. In the summer of 2016 she was listed in the Top 100 Black Women to Watch in Canada. She is now studying to get her Masters at ITP (Interactive Telecommunications) in New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. Ashley’s previous roles have included interning at Kids’ CBC’s Interactive Department, Digital Media Production at TVO, web content for Mozilla and event host for NASA Space Apps, to name a few. Ashley has been featured as a Tech Activist in Metro News and has highlighted diverse tech education as a keynote speaker on numerous occasions for audiences at TEDx, FITC, International Women’s Day and Maker Faire. Ashley feels honoured to have had the opportunity to help more than 3000 youth learn how to code to date.

 

INSTRUCTORS

 

Our Board

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Jonathan Badal, Chair

CEO, OpenTrons

Jon is the CEO of Opentrons, leading business operations and growth. Previously, Jon worked at Amazon as the Director of Strategy at comiXology (exited to Amazon in 2014). As an early employee at comiXology, he helped the company become the leading platform for discovering, buying, and reading digital comic books and #1 Top Grossing non-game iPad app. Prior to comiXology, Jon was an analyst at early-stage VC, Rose Tech Ventures, and graduated from Columbia Unversity as a History major.

 
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Michael J. flanagan, phd

Founder and ceo, flanagen, Executive director, Genspace

Michael J. Flanagan is the Executive Director of Genspace.  He has a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Caltech and has spent more than two decades working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Bell Labs, and entrepreneurial companies including Arieso (CTO) and FlanaGen LLC (Founder and CEO). Dr. Flanagan has been a member of Genspace since 2014, an instructor since 2016, and a Board member since 2017.  In addition to leading a Genspace Community Lab team and serving as a judge at iGEM and Biodesign Challenge competitions, his synthetic biology interests include biomaterials, DNA synthesis/assembly and optogenetic control systems.  When he is not working in Brooklyn, Mike is either at home in Chester NJ or trying to return to London.

 

Nurit Bar-Shai, MS

co-founder, Genspace

Nurit Bar-Shai is the co-founder of Genspace and an interdisciplinary artist who works at the intersection of art, science and technology. As an activist and educator working with biological systems, she addresses the ethics and the emerging practices of DIYbiology and citizen-science. As the Art and Cultural Director at Genspace (2010-2016) she developed content for educational, cultural and outreach programs creating solutions to bridge art and science. Her research and artistic practice looks into microbial social networks and communication systems, collective collaboration, emergence, Soft-Genetic Modification and BioMaterial fabrication. Her telematic work was commissioned by Turbulence.org, and won a Prix Ars Electronica. Her work is featured in the MoMA book, BioDesign: Nature + Science + Creativity.

 

Kathy High, MA

Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Kathy High is an interdisciplinary artist working in the areas of technology, science, speculative fiction and art. She produces videos and installations posing queer and feminist inquiries into areas of medicine/bio-science, and animal/interspecies collaborations. She hosts bio/ecology+art workshops and is creating an urban nature center in North Troy (NATURE Lab) with media organization The Sanctuary for Independent Media. High is Professor of Video and New Media in the Department of Arts, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY. She teaches documentary and experimental digital video production, history and theory, as well as biological arts.

 

Thomas Knight, PHD

Founder, Ginkgo Bioworks

Tom Knight spent most of his career in computer science and electrical engineering  at MIT, before playing a major role in creating the field of synthetic biology. In 1996 he seeded interest in the field at DARPA, and built a molecular biology laboratory in the MIT computer science department. He developed standards for engineering biological systems, such as the Biobrick standard, first distributed in 2002. He was one of the founders of the IGEM competition, and remains on its board. In 2008, he co-founded Gingko Bioworks, where he now remains a full time researcher. His interests include minimal organisms, origins of life, and predictive models of biological systems.

 

Mark Merrill

STRATEGY & OPERATIONS, PONCHO SOLUTIONS

Mark is a co-founder of Poncho Solutions LLC.  He is a member of the founding group of Agilis Biotherapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company advancing innovative DNA therapeutics for rare genetic diseases that affect the central nervous system (CNS).  Mark was previously a managing director at Griffin Securities, Inc., where he specialized in identifying and analyzing emerging science & technology and facilitating its translatability to commercial value with a focus on biotechnology and synthetic biology.  He is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and holds a BA in Economics, with Distinction, from Carleton College.

 
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Daniel Grushkin

Founder and Executive Director, Biodesign Challenge, Co-founder, Genspace

Daniel Grushkin is founder and Executive Director of Biodesign Challenge, and co-founder/former Executive Director of Genspace.  He has been a Fellow at Data & Society, a research institute focused on the social and cultural issues arising from data-centric technological development, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, where he researched synthetic biology, and an Emerging Leader in Biosecurity at the Johns Hopkins Center of Health Security. As a journalist, he has reported on the intersection of biotechnology, culture, and business for publications including Bloomberg Businessweek, Fast Company, Scientific American, Nature Biotech, and Popular Science.