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Daniel Grushkin

Executive DirectoR

Daniel Grushkin is co-founder and Executive Director of Genspace. He is also the founder of the Biodesign Challenge. Daniel is a Fellow at Data & Society. From 2013-2014, he was a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars where he researched synthetic biology. He was an Emerging Leader in Biosecurity at the UPMC Center of Health Security in 2014. As a journalist, he has reported on the intersection of biotechnology, culture, and business for publications including Bloomberg Businessweek, Fast Company, Scientific American and Popular Science.


Will Shindel

Lab manager

Will Shindel is the Laboratory Manager at Genspace and also provides scientific mentoring to our members. He studied Biology at Arcadia University, where he investigated the role of insulator elements in genome organization. After graduating, he spent several years working in the pharmaceutical industry.  It was during this time that he discovered DIY biology and first came to Genspace. In addition to being Laboratory Manager, Will also teaches the course Genome Editing with CRISPR Cas-9 and is working on creating a spicy tomato by engineering in the capsaicin pathway genes.

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Alison Irvine


Alison Irvine is the Program Associate of the Biodesign Challenge. She graduated from Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts with a degree in Theater and Interdisciplinary Science and studied political theater at The Freie Universität in Berlin, Germany. She received the Hunt Fellowship for her work as a theater artist creating performances that centered on the emergence of new biotechnologies and their implications in the context of social and economic inequities. She researches creative practices that engage the public with basic science and new technologies in ways that promote social reflection and ethical scientific conduct. Alison has also written articles on the intersection of art, science, and social justice for Imagine Science Films and The Center for Genetics and Society.


Nica Rabinowitz

Community Manager

As a community organizer, artist, designer, and educator, Nica Rabinowitz has developed programming for students at museums, in classrooms, and wherever else creativity can happen. She created the education department at Manufacture New York and helped start the weaving outreach initiative, Saori Arts NYC. After graduating from Parsons the New School for Design she founded Fiberhouse Collective where she creates closed loop textiles and facilitates accessible hands-on workshops for people of all ages, backgrounds, and aptitudes. Nica has taught workshops through Textile Arts Center, Parsons the New School for Design, Children's Museum of the Arts, New York University (NYU), and the annual Maker Faire.


our Board


Daniel Grushkin

Executive Director, Genspace


Jonathan Badal

Vice President, OpenTrons

Jonathan Badal is the Vice President of OpenTrons. He is also the Director of Strategy and runs the finance team at comiXology. ComiXology is the largest retailer and mobile app platform for digital comic books and had a successful exit to Amazon in 2014. Prior to comiXology, Jonathan was an analyst at the early-stage VC, Rose Tech Ventures.


Nurit Bar-Shai

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

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

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.


Oliver Medvedik

Director of the Kanbar Center, The Cooper Union

Oliver Medvedik is Genspace’s co-founder and the Director of the Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering at The Cooper Union. He received his bachelor's degree in biology from Hunter College, City University of New York, where, as an undergraduate, he worked at the immunology laboratory of Dr. Laurel Eckhardt studying B-cell development. He later received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences program.


Mark Merrill

Managing Director, Griffin Securities

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

Ellen Jorgensen

President EMERITA, genspace

Ellen Jorgensen is a Genspace co-founder. She has a Ph.D. in molecular and cell biology from New York University. A published scientific researcher, she spent most of her career in the biotech industry before becoming an educator and advocate of citizen science. In 2011 she initiated Genspace’s award-winning curriculum of informal science education for adults, mentored all of Genspace’s prize-winning iGEM teams, and directs long-running Genspace programs such as the Urban Barcode Project, a collaboration between Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and Genspace. Her two mainstage TED talks have received over two million views. She was recently inducted into FastCompany's Most Creative People in Business community.