Emma van der Leest (1991) is an award-winning biodesigner, researcher, teacher and author based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. She has experience in the field of biodesign for more than 8 years where she collaborated with disciplines, including international scientists, physicists, artists and designers.
Biodesign, which is based on the principles of biofabrication, is a field that emerged out of regenerative medicine technologies. Biodesign incorporates living organisms e.g. bacteria, fungi, algae or cells into the design process. By discovering materials and processes, that nature has designed but hasn’t patented, we can search for new materials that are grown completely compostable and minimize the use of hazardous resources that cause huge damage to our ecosystem.
Emma interned at Biocouture London, the world’s first bio creative consultancy, and is product associate of the annual Biofabricate conference in New York, an initiative from Suzanne Lee.
Emma is tutor and (former) interim pathway leader at Ecology Futures Master program at Master Institute of Visual Cultures from St. Joost Academy (Avans). Previously she also taught at Central Saint Martins in London and the Design Academy in Eindhoven and had a research position at the Willem de Kooning where she also started to develop a biolab.
Together with curator William Myers and team she curates exhibitions under the name of Museum of 21st Century Design. In 2022 for the Dutch Innovation Pavilion at the Floriade and in 2023 a project in Boijmans van Beuningen Depot in Rotterdam.
Emma is the founder and ambassador-in-the-field of BlueCity Lab. A biocircular playground for bioneers in Rotterdam. They support the transition towards a biocircular economy by facilitating a platform & labspace for a growing community of bioneers that establish examples for a regenerative economy within the planetary boundaries by doing and experimenting.Currilum Vitae