Board of Advisors

Giovanni Frazzetto

Giovanni Frazzetto was born and grew up on the east coast of Sicily.
In 1995, after high school, he moved to the UK to study science at University College London and in 2002 he received a PhD from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg. Since he was a student he has worked and written on the relationship between science, society and culture, publishing in journals such as EMBOreports and Nature.
He was one of the founders of the European Neuroscience & Society Network and the creator of the transdisciplinary Neuroschools. Giovanni has also written short stories and plays and curated science-inspired art exhibitions. For his transdisciplinary efforts he was awarded the 2008 John Kendrew Young Scientist Award. His book How We Feel, on the neuroscience of emotions, was listed among The Guardian 2013 Best Books of Psychology.  He now lives between London and Berlin where he works at the Institute for Advanced Study.
Joe DeGiorgis

Joseph DeGiorgis

Joe graduated with a bachelors’ degree in Oceanography and Marine Ecology from the Florida Institute of Technology and worked as a SCUBA diver for the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. He spent time at the Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and at Harvard Medical School before obtaining a PhD in Neuroscience from Brown University. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Institutes of Health and is now a Professor of Biology at Providence College and Adjunct Faculty in the MBL Cellular Dynamics Program. Throughout his academic career Joe has been interested in imaging using a wide variety of techniques from underwater photography to light and electron microscopy. Joe has taken his camera and dive gear around the world and has photographed the shipwrecks of Truk Lagoon, the sharks of Palau, the coral walls of Cozumel, and the coral reefs of Thailand, among others. His research focuses on the function of Alzheimer’s proteins and uses the squid giant axon as a model system. His work as been published in magazine articles and on the covers of scientific journals including; Molecular Biology of the Cell and Traffic. Currently, Joe is preparing for a year at sea capturing images of the organisms along Darwin’s Voyage through microscopes, telescopes, and the macro lens.

Ellen D. Jorgensen

Ellen is passionate about increasing science literacy in both student and adult populations, particularly in the areas of molecular and synthetic biology. She teaches courses and workshops in molecular and synthetic biology for the general public at Genspace, and is involved in numerous collaborations with educational outreach organizations aimed at developing and implementing better science education at the middle school, high school, and undergraduate level. Dr. Jorgensen received her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the Sackler Institute at New York University School of Medicine in 1987, and went on to continue her research in protein structure/function at SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn. She is presently an adjunct faculty member at New York Medical College. Her latest project is to DNA barcode the plants of the Alaskan tundra.

Oliver Medvedik

Open source synthetic biologist and co-founder of Genspace, a first of its kind community biolab, Oliver Medvedik earned his Ph.D. at Harvard Medical School, in the Biomedical and Biological Sciences program.  As part of his doctoral work he has used single-celled budding yeast as a model system to map the genetic pathways that underlie the processes of aging in more complex organisms, such as humans. Prior to arriving in Boston for his doctoral studies, he has lived most of his life in New York City.  He obtained his bachelor’s degree in biology from Hunter College, City University of New York. Since graduating from Harvard, he has worked as a biotechnology consultant, taught molecular biology to numerous undergraduates at Harvard University and mentored two of Harvard’s teams for the international genetically engineered machines competition (IGEM) held annually at M.I.T.

Jennifer Willet

Dr. Jennifer Willet is an internationally successful artist in the emerging field of BioArt. From 2000-2007 Willet and Shawn Bailey collaborated on an innovative computational, biological, artistic, project called BIOTEKNICA.  At the same time, she taught in the Studio Arts Department at Concordia University, and completed her PhD in the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program at the same institution.  Willet also taught “BioArt: Contemporary Art and the Life Sciences” for The Art and Genomics Centre at The University of Leiden in 2008, and now works as an Assistant Professor in the School of Visual Arts, at The University of Windsor.  In 2009 she opened the first biological art lab in Canada, called INCUBATOR: Hybrid Laboratory at the Intersection of Art, Science, and Ecology at the UofW.  In July 2011 she completed BioARTCAMP, a project that involved hosting 20 artists, scientists and students at The Banff Centre, where they built a portable bioart laboratory and conducted experiments in the Canadian Rocky Mountains.