At the end of March, Charlotte and Martin interviewed scientist Tom Ellis of Tom Ellis labs. Charlotte and Martin have been concentrating on Jen Keane’s work ‘This is Grown’, which was an honour mention of the STARTS prize in 2019. After interviewing her earlier in the year, they went on to find out more about how she collaborated with Tom and his colleague Marcus to produce the work, and how the roles of a scientist and a designer collided to produce the piece.

Tom Ellis Lab is a diverse team of scientists researching at the boundaries of engineering and biology to advance synthetic genomics and accelerate modular synthetic biology. They first began to collaborate with Jen after being introduced in the bio design challenge after being invited to advise on the project.

Tom went on to explain that a lot of designers already have some knowledge of materials, such as Jen, but others can appear naive to the materials and it is often a scientists role to introduce the capacity of a material in design. 

He explained that Jen very much bought different methodologies to their collaboration and had knowledge of fabrication after coming from a background that was best to implement the structure of the design. 

Jen has now gone on to work further with Tom Ellis colleague Marcus Walker on more collaborations merging design with science.