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Engineering Biology in Cambridge


Helene Steiner


Open Cell


Helene Steiner is the Director and co-founder of OpenCell, a company dedicated to making life science more accessible and accelerating innovation from concept to reality. Her passion for making biotechnology more inclusive has led to collaborations with figures like molecular gastronomy chef Heston Blumenthal and musician Alex James from Blur. Her contributions to science have been recognised by the National Academy of Sciences, received over 20 international awards and been published in leading journals like Sciences Advances. Her work has been exhibited worldwide, including the Pompidou and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Before her role at OpenCell, Helene worked in prominent research institutes such as Microsoft Research and MIT Media Lab, where she focused on computational biology and biological interfaces, creating the first shape changing textile using a bacterial coating. Her academic background includes degrees from renowned institutions like the Bauhaus University, Royal College of Art, and Imperial College London. She also serves as a Steering Committee member at the SynBio IRC, University of Cambridge.


Helene Steiner's research interests are rooted in exploring the intersection of biology with technology. She focuses on developing biological interfaces and advancing biodesign methodologies to foster innovation in lab infrastructure. Steiner is committed to making biotechnology more accessible, aiming to democratize lab spaces and resources for the broader scientific community. Her work encompasses creating novel interfaces that allow humans to interact more intuitively with biological systems, thereby pushing the boundaries of how we understand and manipulate life sciences. For more in-depth insights into her projects and research areas, you can visit her website at