The beauty of natural forms and their underlying design principles provide living organisms with their incredible strength, resilience, and efficiency.

Matilda McQuaid, Deputy Director of Curatorial and Head of Textiles leads a discussion with Don Ingber, founding director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, and his co-faculty member Pamela Silver. The panel discusses how Wyss scientists explored the permanent collection through a scientific lens in order to curate the exhibition Wyss Institute Selects, how they integrate design into their practice, and the implications for others interested in transforming the world through design.



Photograph of Donald Ingber, one of the panelists. Don has light gray hair and short beard. He has glasses and smiles at the camera.Don Ingber

Donald E. Ingber, M.D., Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, Judah Folkman Professor of Vascular Biology at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children’s Hospital, and Professor of Bioengineering at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. He has authored more than 475 publications and over 120 patents, founded 5 companies, and been a guest speaker at more than 500 events internationally. Based on his pioneering work, he has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Inventors, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Ingber currently has some of his design innovations exhibited at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, Barbican Centre in London, and at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, where he curated the museum’s ongoing Wyss Institute Selects exhibition on Biofuturism with some of his Wyss Institute faculty. Ingber’s Organ-on-a-Chip invention was named Design of the Year by the London Design Museum in 2015 and one of the Top 10 Emerging Technologies of 2016 by the World Economic Forum; it is also included in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.


Photograph of Pamela Silver, the other panelist from the Wyss Institute. Pamela has strawberry blond hair past her shoulders. She wears a short-sleeved black dress and has one hand on her hip.Pamela Silver

Pamela Silver is the Adams Professor of Biochemistry and Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering. She received her BS and PhD from the University of California and was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. Her work has been recognized by an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association, a Research Scholar of the March of Dimes, an NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award, Claudia Adams Barr Investigator, an NIH MERIT award, the Philosophical Society Lecture, a Fellow of the Radcliffe Institute, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  She was named one of the top global influencers in Synthetic Biology and her work was one of the top 10 breakthroughs at the World Economic Forum. She serves on the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity and the board of the International Genetics Engineering Machines (iGEM) Competition.


Wyss Institute Selects is made possible by the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund.