Hello.

I'm a digital product and graphics designer. I love device responsive web standards, functional user interfaces and branding — especially if there's a new product or service involved.

That's pretty specific, though. Deep down I really love designing all sorts of things. I geek out on physically interactive spaces and objects, data art, computational aesthetics, as well as bio-design.

I studied visual communication and art history at The George Washington University and I'm a graduate of New York University's innovative design and technology master's program, ITP.

I live, work and ride bikes in sunny Brooklyn, NY.

Contact

Academic Experience

2010.09 — 2012.05

Master of Professional Studies
Interactive Telecommunication Program (ITP) Tisch School of the Arts, New York University

2000.09 — 2004.05

BA Visual Communications with minor in Art History
The George Washington University
Graduated Cum Laude
National Society of Collegiate Scholars
Spring 2003 semester at Sydney University, AU

Professional Experience

2012.08 — present

UX Designer, Microsoft, New York, NY

I'm only just getting started.

2012.01 — 2012.05

Interaction Designer, SumAll, New York, NY

Worked with a small team of designers and developers to release the front-end of an analytics web application. Integrating an impressive array of data sources into a smart and charming experience, the application allows ecommerce business owners to save time and make better decisions.

2011.06 — 2011.09

UX Designer, Microsoft Bing, Bellevue, WA

Worked with design, editorial, dev and program management teams to scope, design and develop prototypes for a soon-to-be-released Bing.com feature during a summer internship. The internship culminated in two presentations of the feature prototypes to senior leadership at Microsoft as well as the Bing design team.

2007.02 — 2010.08

Graphic & Interaction Designer, Empax, Inc., New York, NY

Created a range of environmental, print and interactive materials to promote nonprofit clients and their causes. responsible for designing and presenting brand strategies, identities, print collateral, environmental signage, animation, user experience and interface, content management system setup and third party plug-in and data integration, search engine optimization, user analytics and testing.

2006.12 — 2011.08

Freelance Graphic & Interaction Design Consultant, New York, NY

Worked as a sole proprietor with various clients from retail, music, film, nonprofit, real estate and technology industries to create and improve existing brand and user experiences across many platforms and media, although mostly print and web.

2004.04 — 2006.01

Graphic Designer, The George Washington University Communication & Creative Services, Washington, DC

Worked with project management and external production vendors to deliver a range of print and interactive material related to university publications and communications initiatives. responsibilities included design and implementation of print collateral, posters, animation, environmental signage, web publication and press checks.

Other Experience

2011.11 — 2012.02

Vibrant Technology Researcher, Intel Research, NYC
Grant recipient working with NYU faculty, Intel researchers and student collaborators to design and develop a prototype for a location-based interactive organism that explores what happens when technologies are re-envisioned as peers instead of tools.

2006.01 — 2006.12

English Teacher, NOVA Japan, Kure-shi, Hiroshima-ken, Japan
Taught and mentored students of all ages and abilities in small to medium-sized classes to improve proficiency in english linguistics and conversation.

Selected Press & Publications

2012.05

Project: #BKME
Creative Applications (Web)
“BKME.ORG – A Web Platform for Reclaiming Bike Lanes”
by Greg J. Smith

2012.03

Project: #BKME
Laughing Squid (Web)
“BKME, Web Platform For Recording Bicycle Lane Violations”
by Edw Lynch

2011.07

Project: Budget Climb
Freakonomics (Web)
“What Would it Be Like to Climb 26 Years of Federal Spending?”

2011.04

Project: Budget Climb
Flowingdata (Web)
“Physically climb over budget data with Kinect”
by Nathan Yau

2011.02

Project: Gedenk Logo
Logo Lounge 6 (Book)
by Catharine Fishel and Bill Gardner, Rockport Publishers

2010.12

Project: Pousse Cafe
Gizmodo (Web)
“A Bartender That Pours The Perfect Shot, Every Shot” by Matt Buchanan

2009.11

Project: The 2007 Gotham Awards Logo
Basic Logos (Book)
by Index Book

2008.10

The Alliance for Climate Protection Website
Print Magazine
“Dialogue: Martin Kace”
by Steven Heller

Selected Exhibitions

2011.12

ITP Winter Show 2011, NYC

2011.05

ITP Spring Show 2011, NYC

2011.04

Data Viz Challenge Party, hosted by Eyebeam and Google, NYC

2010.12

ITP Winter show 2010, NYC

Driving Force: The Open Standardization of Synthetic Biology

October 19, 2011

Micrasterias Truncata

The purpose of the following research is not to develop a thesis nor to speculate about the future, but rather to establish a firm understanding of current trends upon which future insights may be based. It is written as an assignment for Master’s class at ITP called The Future of the Infrastructure, taught by Art Kliener.

Driving Force: The open standardization of production tools and techniques within the emerging field of synthetic biology.

Synthetic Biology can be defined as:

  1. the design and construction of new biological parts, devices, and systems, and
  2. the re-design of existing, natural biological systems for useful purposes. [1]

There have a number of historical events that have lead us to our current state. Notably, James Watson and Francis Crick’s accurate modeling of the structure of Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in 1953 [2], Paul Berg’s successful recombinant DNA molecule [3], and most recently in May of 2010 Craig Venter’s creation of “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.” [4]

Venter reports that his team created a 1,080,000 bp synthetic DNA molecule, swapped it into an existing bacteria and watched the bacteria not only propagate itself (with the new DNA) but also generate proteins dictated by the synthetic DNA. [5] This builds on the team’s 2007 work which successfully proved DNA from one bacteria when placed into another will synthesize the new DNA’s proteins.

In response to Craig Venter’s synthetic and self-replicating bacteria, Obama requested that his Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues research and report on the emerging field to “identify appropriate ethical boundaries to maximize public benefits and minimize risks.” [6] The report “unanimously concluded that the field of synthetic biology does not require new regulation, oversight bodies, or a moratorium on advancing research at this time.” [7]

The lack of new regulation makes a lot of sense for the private and public sectors. Considering the concerns in the U.S. over energy independence and security, not to mention global warming, it’s very reasonable to assume  that the energy sector has much to gain from further innovation within the field. The National Academy of Sciences published a report [8] in 2007 which outlined concerns surrounding ethanol from corn and its water consumption, pollution and impact on food prices (currently, 33% of the U.S. corn crop is produced for use as ethanol fuel). [9] This certainly influenced the increase in mandated biofuel usage standards, set by Congress in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 [10], from 5.4 billion gallons for 2008 to 36 billion gallons of biofuels annually by 2022 and also required that beyond 2016 any and all increase in biofuel production must come from “advanced” feedstocks, such as cellulosic ethanol or algae which have many favorable environmental qualities and productivity efficiencies over corn [11]. The Department of Energy’s Biological and Environmental Research Program now has funds allocated for their own research into the space for 2012.

It’s not surprising then that Synthetic Genomics, founded in part by Craig Venter, has a contract with Exxon to generate biofuels from algae and has $600 million in potential awards on the table for successful completion of research milestones. Because commercial-scale algae plants are not yet cheap enough and he can’t get fuel from his team’s synthetic bacteria, Venter believes he can apply a similar process with the ultimate goal of building an algae genome library and then turning the “50 or 60″ dials of gene expression to produce different combinations and optimally “superproductive organisms” that in turn produce more viable fuels.

Although energy demands will be a major catalyst, it’s also clear that many other fields including space travel, defense and healthcare will benefit from research into synthetic biology as well. While we should applaud innovation in any one particular focus, there remains a barrier of redundant setup investment for each and every effort because without a common framework researchers have a difficult time leveraging past successes. There is, however, an effort to standardize this framework using engineering principles of abstraction and this is in fact what makes synthetic biology such a promising field.

The biological world is so new, variable and therefore unpredictable that determining the implications of results isn’t often clear. By working with standardized parts, we can build a more semantic and robust library of how biological systems interact. Consider, as an example, that the internet and it’s decentralized network structure, standardized protocols and open HTML framework allow innovation to take place between end nodes. This is essentially what standardizing biological parts will achieve for the synthetic biology community. No longer would innovation only take place in expensive, closed laboratory environments. With open, standardized biological parts end nodes (that is to say anyone with the will) can quickly climb the learning curve, order the parts and tinker with biology without fear of infringing on corporate IP rights.

Leading the way in the standardization of parts is the BioBricks Foundation. In their own words:

“BioBricks is borrowing strategies and protocols that have worked well in other industries. But combining ideas like open technology platforms and technical standards is a revolutionary concept for biotechnology that when combined allows many people to work together. We’re essentially infusing biotech research with an engineering mindset. This means that instead of developing one solution for one particular near-term application [per the common scientific research model], we’re encouraging the development of foundational tools that can be used to develop solutions for myriad problems. It’s a “solutions-driven” research model that’s optimized for efficiency, scalability and cost advantages.” [12]

The BioBricks foundation is providing the technical framework for synthetic biology, much as the W3C provides standards to define an open web platform. What is ultimately done with these standards is unknown, which is precisely the point that the possibilities are great. As examples of what is being done with this framework, MIT started a Parts Registry of genetics parts that can be more easily combined and experimented with in order to produce synthetic biology devices, iGEM hosts a synthetic biology student competition that uses these standardized parts, and OpenWetWare is establishing a knowledge base of know-how.

In conclusion, there exists a critical uncertainty surrounding not only whether or not the field of synthetic biology will produce real world solutions for some of our greatest problems including energy, but also the extent to which the production of an open standards framework will contribute to this impact.

Sources

  1. http://syntheticbiology.org/
  2. The Double Helix, by James Watson, on Amazon.com
  3. Biochemical Method for Inserting New Genetic Information into DNA of Simian Virus 40: Circular SV40 DNA Molecules Containing Lambda Phage Genes and the Galactose Operon Escherichia coli, by Paul Berg
  4. Researcher Say They Created a ‘Synthetic Cell’, by Nicholas Wade, on the New York Times
  5. Synthetic Genome Brings New Life to Bacterium, by Elizabeth Pennisi
  6. New Directions: The Ethics of Synthetic Biology and Emerging Technologies
  7. The Ethics of Synthetic Biology: Guiding Principles for Emerging Technologies, by Amy Gutmann in the Hastings Center Report 41, No. 4, hosted on http://upenn.edu
  8. Water Implications of Biofuels Production in the United States, report by the National Academy of Sciences
  9. As Ethanol Booms, Critics Warn of Environmental Effects, by Erica Gies, on the New York Times
  10. Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
  11. Better Than Corn? Algae Set to Beat Out Other Biofuel Feedstocks, Worldwatch Institute
  12. http://biobricks.org/about-foundation/

[image credit: PROYECTO AGUA ** / ** WATER PROJECT], more on micrasterias