We invite you to view "WETWARE: art | agency | animation" - an exhibition at the interface between biology, technology and art being shown at the Beall Center for Art & Technology in the Claire Trevor School of Arts. The exhibition runs until May 7, 2016.

WETWARE features art in the light of today’s convergent living technologies: While artists have previously staged “Artificial Life” through the hardware and software of computers and robotics to simulate living systems, increasingly it emerges from wetware itself. Whether touching upon the brain’s position between spiritualism and metabolism, the synthesis of luminescent protocells from scratch, or microbes that possess the technical ability to make gold and clean water, contemporary artists who employ laboratory methods in the context of Synthetic Biology are getting particularly “close to life” today.

WETWARE presents beaded necklaces containing synthetic amino acids, protocells to simulate movements of phytoplankton, bacteria that produce energy to run a musical synthesizer, a desktop gene machine, A-Life parasites fed with electro trash, as well as an artificially grown brain-in-a-vat nourished with Hegel’s Phenomenology of the Spirit. The exhibition juxtaposes art projects that creatively and critically investigate the anthropocentric mindset in engineered moist “Artificial life,” and the responsibility that arises with it. In WETWARE, the concepts of art, agency, and animation acquire new meanings, while aliveness is questioned in terms of components, circuits, and systems.

The exhibition features international artists who have increasingly extended their work towards wetware practices: Adam Brown, Gilberto Esparza, Thomas Feuerstein, Lucie Strecker & Klaus Spiess and Orkan Telhan. In addition Evelina Domnitch & Dmitry Gelfand (with sound by Richard Chartier) and Anna Dumitriu present new works developed during their three-week residencies at the Beall in collaboration with the UCI Center for Complex Biological Systems and the UCI Newkirk Center for Science & Society.

WETWARE is curated by Beall Center Artistic Director David Familian and Jens Hauser, a Paris and Copenhagen based art curator, writer and media studies scholar who focuses on the interactions between art and technology. 

Free admission. Open to the Public.




Feb 6 until May 7
Tuesdays - Saturdays
from 12 – 6pm
Closed Sundays & Mondays
Closed: Mar 22 - 29
Beall Center for Art + Technology
University of California, Irvine
Claire Trevor School of the Arts
712 Arts Plaza
Irvine, CA 92697-2775
Adrienne Lipscomb
Interim Programs Director
Tel. (949) 824-6206



2015 Opportunity Awards

CinquinPic CCBSWebsite
Image courtesy of Dr. Olivier Cinquin:
C. elegans germline stem cells express lower levels of Cyclin E than their differentiating descendants, which may be part of a strategy to minimize the accumulation of replication-dependent mutations.
Congratulations to the winners of this year's CCBS Opportunity Awards competition based on the theme of Dynamics and Complexity! Each winning proposal will receive $10,000 for project expenses and $1,000 personal award to be split between student and/or postdoctoral participants. We look forward to hearing about the projects at next year's annual CCBS retreat scheduled for March 18-20th, 2016 at the Sheraton Universal Hotel, Universal City.
Diffusion kinetics of free to bound NADH during early stages of ovarian folliculogenesis
Rachel Cinco, Ulrike Luderer / Nik Hedde, Enrico Gratton
Developmental & Cell Biology / Biomedical Engineering
Understanding complex and dynamic cell behavior during craniofacial skeletogenesis Christopher Rackauckas, Qing Nie / Praveer Sharma, Tom Schilling
Mathematics / Developmental & Cell Biology
Unraveling spatio-temporal dynamics of the deacetylase SIRT1 in living cells
Lorena Aguilar, Paolo Sassone-Corsi / Suman Ranjit, Enrico Gratton
Biological Chemistry / Biomedical Engineering & Laboratory for Fluorescence Dynamics
Dynamic regulation and noise attenuation in IncRNA network for X-chromosome inactivation
Tian Hong, Chunhe Li, Qing Nie / Heather Karner, Sha Sun
Mathematics / Developmental & Cell Biology
Profiling the dynamic transcriptome of FSHD during myogenesis through single-cell mRNA sequencing
Mandy Jiang, Ali Mortazavi / Christopher Ma, Kyoko Yokomori
Developmental & Cell Biology / Biological Chemistry

Announcing New Collaboration

The Beall Center for Art + Technology, The Center for Complex Biological Systems (CCBS) and The Newkirk Center for Science and Society, all located at University of California, Irvine (UCI) are co-sponsoring an artist in residence. The selected artist will be given the opportunity to develop a Synthetic Biology (SynBio) work of art and to actively engage with science professionals on campus. The work can employ biological materials and/or computational processes; it will be included in TRACES OF VITALITY, an exhibition at the Beall Center in February 2016.
Proposals are due by 5pm, August 24, 2015. All applicants will be notified by September 8, 2015.
The two-part residency includes a two-week period anytime from October - November 2015, with a second visit to produce/install work for the Beall exhibition opening, February 6, 2016. A stipend of up to $10,000 will be provided by the Beall Center, CCBS, and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to cover travel and living expenses and to support the production of a finished work.
This inaugural residency program is aimed at exploring the potential of the arts or alternative cultural practices related to the extensive and interdisciplinary field of Synthetic Biology. While in residence, the artist will investigate the challenges and philosophical, aesthetic and ethical aspects connected to the field and its societal ramifications.
The applications will be reviewed by an international jury composed of Jens Hauser (curator), David Familian (curator/artist), Simon Cole (social scientist), Chang Liu (scientist), Felix Grun (scientist), and Victoria Vesna (artist). Applications and any additional questions about this opportunity should be addressed to: David Familian dfamilia@uci.edu.
Read more about the program with application information here.

Announcing the "new" MCSB MS/PhD Program

We are pleased to report that UC President Napolitano has approved the MCSB MS/PhD program! The program will start this September (2015) for students currently enrolled at UCI. This includes students who just finished the gateway program, as well as students currently enrolled in academic departments.  The fully approved proposal may be viewed from the following link: MCSB 050115

MCSB degreesSubject to approval by the MCSB Director in conjunction with the MCSB Executive Committee, current UCI students can transfer into the MCSB program this fall (2015) via the Change of Major form process. Full program details and specific transfer requirements, including resolving financial support issues, will be posted shortly on the MSCB website.

The stand-alone MCSB M.S./Ph.D. program builds on the success of the current MCB gateway graduate program and is the fulfillment of a 2005 HHMI grant obligation. The MCB gateway program will become the “Department Option” in the MCSB M.S./Ph.D. program, which will continue to provide students with a gateway opportunity. Students will now have the option to pursue their degree directly from the MCSB program by taking the MS/Ph.D. option.

Local high school students model watershed bacterial dynamics

"Is the water safe to swim in ?" That's the question that crossed the minds of Annie Chang and Daisy Chen, two 9th graders from Woodbridge High School, Irvine, and brother-sister team Hari and Anita Garg from University High School, Irvine after observing the confluence of pets, toddlers and river effluent at one of our local beaches last summer. They wondered whether certain sites in our local watershed harbor high concentrations of coliform bacteria that might elevate risks to human health. So they set out to find some answers. But what initially had seemed like a straight forward question, they quickly came to realize was a complex problem with no easy answers and no simple single methodology.

Under mentorship from Dr. Felix Grün (CCBS) and Dr. Michelle Digman (BME) they spent last summer collecting water samples along the ocean coastline, at river outlets and throughout Newport Bay, and analysing them for bacterial contaminants using a variety of quantitative laboratory techniques including bacterial colony forming plate and growth assays, species-specific qPCR, and applying a novel sensitive fluorescence particle counting instrument developed at UCI's Laboratory of Fluorescence Dynamics. Quantitative data on bacterial levels - along with real time weather, tidal and water flow data - were then used as input parameters for a research grade hydrodynamic and biogeochemical computational simulator (ELCOM-CAEDYM, Centre for Water Research, UWA) able to model the three-dimensional temporal and spatial dynamics of complex water transport processes and their ecological responses.

Annie and Daisy's modeling results, together with Hari and Anita's surveys, highlighted the highly dynamic (and sometimes surprising) interactions throughout our watershed. Notable was the distribution of high coliform counts in the Upper Bay around areas of freshwater input sources, e.g. runoff from marshes and golf courses, that were also subject to inefficient tidal flushing, and the rapid decline in viable bacterial counts at most ocean locations due to dilution effects and inhospitable growth conditions. So appearances aren't everything: the Upper Newport Bay ecological preserve might look tempting but is not a good place for a swim; swimming close to the Santa Ana river outlet ... well that depends on the time, tide and weather events.

2015IRWD winnersAnnie and Daisy won 1st Prize in Environmental Science for their project entitled "Multimethod Analysis and Spatial Modeling of Bacterial Dynamics in the Newport Bay Watershed" at the Orange County Science & Engineering Fair in April and took 4th place at the California statewide competition held at the Staples Center, Los Angeles in May. Their work also received recognition with additional awards from the Irvine Ranch Water District, Orange County Sea and Sage Audobon Society and the California Shore and Beach Preseveration Association. Hari and Anita Garg also excelled with their project entilted "Pathogen Detection in Southern California Water Using a Particle Counter" being recognized by a special IRWD award, a 3rd Place in the Biological Products section of the OCSEF and also going on to compete at the California statewide competition. Congratulations to all !


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