Andrew Pelling's unconventional and creative scientific process is founded on play.

Why you should listen

Scientist, professor, entrepreneur and TED Fellow Andrew Pelling has built a career on unapologetic curiosity, creativity and serendipity. He is a professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Ottawa, where he founded and directs a curiosity-driven research lab that brings together artists, scientists, social scientists and engineers. The lab uses low-cost, open source materials and methods to explore speculative living technologies of the future. He has, for instance, created human body parts made from plants and grown living skins on LEGOs -- innovations with the potential to replace prohibitively expensive commercial biomaterials.

Pelling is also the co-founder and CTO of Spiderwort Inc., a mission driven company developing open source platforms to enable the widespread and global adoption of biological research in all environments and economic contexts. Most recently, he founded pHacktory, a street-level research lab in Ottawa that amplifies community ideas through a potent mixture of craft, serendipity and curiosity.

Pelling's work has been in the international media spotlight for many years, with recognition in outlets such as Wired, Huffington Post, NPR, Scientific American, Popular Science, BBC, Der Spiegel, Deutsche Welle and others, as well as numerous highlights in the Canadian media and Scientific media. He was named a TED Fellow in 2016.

Andrew Pelling’s TED talk

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Science

A promising way to grow body parts … using an apple

February 16, 2016

Biohacker Andrew Pelling has figured out a way to create living, functional biological objects that don’t exist in nature -- without deliberately modifying DNA in any way. In one experiment, he uses apples and human cells to make ears. But what? And how? And why? Read on.

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