Industrial Designer and Entrepreneur
Developing and deploying products for biotechnology

I am an Industrial Designer and Entrepreneur developing and deploying products for biotechnology. I have over 14 years of experience working across academia, industry and public engagement. My projects translate research into the real world.

  • OpenCell, London (CEO)
  • Lead and visiting lecturer, Biomaterial Course, Fashion Department, Royal College of Art
  • Cell-Free Technology (CCO)
  • Microsoft Research, Cambridge (PostDoc)
  • Microsoft Research, HQ Redmond (Visiting Artist)
  • MIT Media Lab (Visiting Researcher)
  • Member SynBio IRC Steering Committee, Cambridge University
  • Kavli Frontier of Science, National Academy of Science, USA
  • Master of Design, Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany
  • Master of Arts, Innovation Design Engineering, Royal College of Art
  • Master of Science, Innovation Design Engineering, Imperial College London
  • Design Intelligence Award (DIA)
  • Finalist International Design Excellence Awards
  • Winner Innovation by Design Award 'Experimental'
  • “Golden A’ Design Award”, Wearable Technologies Design Category
  • CHI15 Honorable Mention Award
  • Austrian State Prize for Design „design concepts“ 1st price
  • Honorable Mention, Starts Prize Ars Electronica
  • Food: Bigger than the Plate, Victoria and Albert Museum
  • PlantFever, CID au Grand-Hornu
  • Ars Electronica, Austria
  • Museum of Applied Arts, Austria
  • CONTAIN: An open-source shipping container laboratory optimised for automated COVID-19 diagnostics
  • 80 questions for UK biological security
  • bioLogic: Natto cells as nanoactuators for shape changing interfaces
  • Harnessing the hygroscopic and biofluorescent behaviors of genetically tractable microbial cells to design biohybrid wearables
  • bioPrint: A liquid deposition printing system for natural actuators
  • Second skin: Biological garment powered by and adapting to body in motion
  • GrowKit: A Kit for Organisms to Promote Personalized STEAM Learning
  • Project Florence: A Plant to Human Experience
  • Body covers as digital display: a new material for expressions of body & self
  • Harnessing Multi-Functional Microbial Cells for Designing Sweat-Responsive Bio-Hybrid Wearables
  • Methods and apparatus for hygromorphic shape control
  • Autonomous pixel with multiple different sensors
  • Display on a stretchable substrate
  • Methods and apparatus for hygromorphic shape control -

I am the CEO of OpenCell London. We build modular labs, including labs in shipping containers. An example is our rapid-response COVID Lab CONTAIN, which has supported numerous countries and governments during the pandemic. 

My background is in engineering and industrial designer with a specialisation in translating science into the real world. I am interested in products at the intersection of hardware/software/biology. 

Another passion of mine is telling the story of biotechnology and sharing knowledge and resources to enable others to contribute to the discipline. This is reflected in my biomaterial course in the fashion department at the Royal College of Art. The course is an interdisciplinary course teaching fashion students biotechnology with a focus on sustainability and advances in manufacturing.

I have previously worked in various research roles to deploy new technologies such as flexible displays, biological displays, user interfaces for computational biology, and biosensors.

My work has been showcased in various leading museums and institutes, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, Ars Electronica. I have been awarded over 22 international awards and published in leading journals such as Sciences Advances.

Work & Study

Media & Publications

Latest News

November 1, 2018

Helene Steiner announced as BioBeat Movers and Shakers in BioBusiness 2018

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