The Bio Art Research Coalition of Syracuse (BARCS) is a collaborative public outreach program between art and biology. It brings together scientists and artists from different universities nationally and internationally, to share their research and initiate a conversation across their fields to create future professional collaborations.

The base of this program is the Bio-Art Mixer – a lecture and socializing event that exist since 2017. The Bio-Art Mixer features presentations and discussions of one scientist and one artist with both academic and non-academic audiences. In 2019 we also started artist-in-the-lab residency program, that hosts both professional artists and students from the arts in biology labs. They produce their artistic work in collaboration with scientists and graduate students in biology. In 2022, our exhibition program “Chimera” began, which features works by established bio-artists and students displayed in public spaces across the university. Some of the work presented at these shows was produced during our first Bio-Art class that we offered in the spring semester of 2022.

BARCS has been initiated and directed by Professor Heidi Hehnly Ph.D. (Biology) and Professor Boryana Rossa Ph.D. (Film and Media Arts) in 2018 in collaboration with Canary Lab. It has been supported by the department of Film and Media Arts, the department of Biology, and CUSE Lecture and CUSE Seed grants.


The Bio-Art Mixer is a lecture and socializing event, existing since 2017, where art and life sciences meet, where faculty and graduate students are invited to share their research, get ideas for their new projects, or simply view their own work from the perspective of a different discipline. At every meeting, we have two to four short presentations, followed by a moderated discussion and a Q&A with the audience. After that, we allow time for informal conversations.

The event became popular very quickly and the audience increased beyond 150 visitors at a time. The mixers involve presenters among faculty and graduate students from local universities in Syracuse; and guests from national and international institutions such as Windsor University, Canada; University of Western Australia, Perth; Ionian University, Greece; The Ohio State University; Cornell University; Carnegie Mellon University; School of Visual Arts; University of Connecticut; Alfred University; University at Buffalo; Rensselaer; SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry; SUNY Upstate Medical University etc.


Many of our Bio-Art Mixers have been video documented. In this section can be found also videos about artworks produced during the residency program.


Chimera II

Chimera II is the second part of exhibitions related to the Bio-Art Mixer and is curated by Dr. Boryana Rossa. It features works by guest artist Ken Rinaldo, and students Elise Krespan, Jacub Kochanowski, Renita Saldanha, and posters of the Bio-Art Mixer events designed by Oleg Mavromatti.

Chimera I

Chimera I is a bio-art exhibition featuring guest artists Paul Vanouse, Jennifer Willet, and Adam Zaretsky, along with work by the students in the Bio-Art class taught by Professor Rossa and Professor Hehnly in Spring 2022.

This exhibition presents finished works and works in progress that utilize techniques and knowledge from the field of biological sciences, apply discussion from humanities and look for visual and textual expression that comes from the arts.


The Bio-Art classes are studio/lab work and history focused with the aim to provide a public outreach about scientific knowledge with perspective from humanities. They bring together art and biology students, offering an overlap of disciplines with the hands-on study of digital imaging technologies, microscopy, biological drawing, and lecturing on the relatively new field of bio-art.

Students learn microscopy and incorporate their acquisitions into visually interesting interpretations and presentations. Biology and art students also use traditional and digital drawing techniques to provide another tool for scientific analysis of microscopic imaging and create cross-disciplinary representations of scientific research by applying perspectives from arts and humanities.

Bringing these two very different fields together has also the aim of incorporating discussions between the sciences and humanities. The work produced in the classes will be displayed on campus in galleries and public spaces that attract large traffic. There is also a live public presentation component, through which students learn how to present their research cross-disciplinary before a mixed audience.


Artists’ and art students’ residences at Dr. Hehnly’s lab provide expertise and facilities for the research and development of bio-art works. The residency program is closely related to the other activities provided by BARCS. Artists in residence are required to make a public presentation of their work in a form of a lecture or an exhibition display on campus. Residences are by invitation only.