An Experimental BioArts Project: “not invented by nature”

Experimental BioArts Project

With the emergence of Synthetic Biology, a scientific discipline aiming at the standardization of biological parts for the targeted generation of organisms with new, naturally not occurring features is gaining more and more scientific as well as public attention. Discoveries and inventions in the field of Synthetic Biology bear an enormous potential for the understanding of the living world and the development of processes and products for medicine and technology. The societal changes originating from such advances, however, are neither anticipated nor reflected in scientific approaches to this issue. Thus, the project aims at introducing artists to the technical methodology of Synthetic Biology and to uncover common aspects for a critical assessment of societal and cultural aspects of this emerging discipline.

The project starts at September 9, 2013. Selected artists are invited to a four-week experimental laboratory visit at the DKFZ Heidelberger Life Science Lab in Heidelberg, Germany. During the first two weeks, the embedded artists will be introduced to experimental techniques, such as handling of bacteria and mammalian cells, DNA cloning and protein expression as well as analytic methods, such as microscopy, gel electrophoresis or photometric assays. Additionally, there will be introductions to high-ranking scientists at DKFZ, the iGEM Team Heidelberg 2013 and to state-of-the-art laboratory facilities, such as high-throughput and confocal microscopy as well as Next-Generation Sequencing. The following two weeks are dedicated to the first stages of exhibit development. The exhibits generated during and after this laboratory experience will be presented to the public in an exhibition in the BioQuant Center in Heidelberg. The exhibition will last (depending on the kind of exhibits) 4-6 weeks and will take place within the framework of the international research symposium “Synthetic Biology – from understanding to application” taking place at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ) in Heidelberg on December 9-11, 2013.


  • Prof. Dr. Roland Eils (DKFZ and Heidelberg University)
  • Prof. Ursula Damm (Bauhaus University Weimar)
  • Dr. Katrin Platzer (Heidelberger Life Science Lab)
  • Dr. Julia Ritzerfeld (DKFZ)
  • Theresa Schubert (Bauhaus University Weimar)

Travel costs, accommodation in Heidelberg, as well as equipment and consumables necessary for the experimental part are fully covered by the organizers.

Due to the overwhelming number of high-quality applications, the project has been extended to four (instead of two) participants.

Selected Candidates: