Bio-designers use cells, DNA molecules, proteins, and living tissues to highlight ethical, social, and aesthetic issues that influence contemporary life. 

The goal of this class is to introduce students to how bio-design blurs distinctions between science and design through combination of design and scientific processes, creating wide public debate; and to new sciences that influence the food we eat, the clothes we wear and the environment we reside in. Students are challenged to think outside the box, explore divergent and convergent thinking, and seek out knowledge and inspiration from ideas that drive nano- and bio-technology. Peer collaboration encouraged to develop speculative design projects that address issues covered.

Each class is redesigned based on the students who sign up, the time we find ourselves in and the issues that are at the forefront of our contemporary lives.

Honors Book


Professor Victoria Vesna

Victoria Vesna, Ph.D., is a media artist and Professor at the UCLA Department of Design | Media Arts and Director of the Art|Sci center at the School of the Arts and California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI). Her work can be defined as experimental creative research that resides between disciplines and technologies. 

Although she was trained early on as a painter (Academy of Fine arts, Belgrade, 1984), her curious mind took her on an exploratory path that resulted in work can be defined as experimental creative research residing between disciplines and technologies. With her installations she investigates how communication technologies affect collective behavior and perceptions of identity shift in relation to scientific innovation (Ph.D., Planetary Collegium, 2000). Her work involves long-term collaborations with composers, nano-scientists, neuroscientists, evolutionary biologists and she brings this experience to students. Victoria has exhibited her work in over twenty solo exhibitions, more than seventy group shows, has been published in excess of twenty papers and gave 100+ invited talks in the last decade. She is the North American editor of AI & Society and in 2007 published an edited volume - Database AestheticsArt in the age of Information Overflow, Minnesota Press and most recently an edited volume entitled Context ProvidersConditions of Meaning in Media Arts. (co-edited with Christiane Paul and Margot Lovejoy). Intellect Press, 2011.

Victoria Vesna's homepage



Savana was born in the Amazonian state of Acre, Brazil, and immigrated to New Haven, CT, with her mother when she was a child. In Brazil, her mother and father were activists who fought to protect the Amazon rainforest from deforestation and defended indigenous rights. Savana's parents were also artists who collaborated on photography and film projects. From an early age, this introduction to art and activism enriched her childhood and continues to inspire her creative pursuits today. 

Savana received a B.F.A in Film and Video from Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Since then, she has worked in digital media education and branded digital content production in the San Francisco Bay Area. In 2019, she managed the development and production of State of Pride, a YouTube Originals documentary about the current state of LGBTQIA+ pride fifty years after the Stonewall riots. The film premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2019, and won the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Documentary. 

As Savana pursues an M.F.A. in UCLA’s TFT Producers Program, her goal is to produce stories made by and for BIPOC communities around the world. Especially dear to her heart as a Latina and Brazilian-American immigrant is to tell stories that deconstruct the monolith of Latinidad and shine a light on all cultures, races, and experiences within our community — most of which are painfully underrepresented in Hollywood today. We have a long way to go, and Savana hopes to be a part of this change.

Spring 2021 Office Hours Wednesdays from 9 am - 12 pm 

You can also reach Savana by email at: savana@g.ucla.edu