FIT team wins Biodesign Challenge competition
The Fashion Institute of Technology announced on Thursday that has won the first Biodesign Challenge (BDC), a competition from writer and GenSpace founder Dan Grushkin.
The FIT team, comprised of students Tessa Collaghanbe ’16, Gian Cui ’17, Aleksandra Gosiewski ’17 and Aaron Nesser, developed a yarn out of algae and fungi, and used it to model a sustainable production method. The students spent months experimenting with biomaterial to see how much it would stretch only to discover that it stretched 70% beyond its original length. At the event, the team unveiled a small t-shirt made from the yarn, and although it could not be worn, it serves as a biodegradable, nutrient-rich product.
The Biodesign Challenge is a competition in which teams of students from nine US colleges and universities create projects that envision future applications of biotechnology. Themes for the projects included architecture, water, food, materials, energy, medicine and other areas of biological design. The projects were presented by each team and then judged by 13 leaders in biotechnology, design, and education. The prize was announced after the June 23 event at the Museum of Modern Art.
The FIT team bested schools such as University of Pennsylvania, New York University, Carnegie Mellon University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Maryland Institute College of Art and Southern California Institute of Architecture. Collaghanbe, Cui and Gosiwski are from FIT’s Fashion Design program’s knitwear specialization, and Nessler studies at the Pratt Institute.
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