MYCRO is about learning the synergy and interconnectedness of nature while remembering that we are a part of it.
MYCRO is about humans’ collective ongoing quest to deepen our understanding of microbes.
MYCRO is about curiosity and hope for the future.
MYCRO is about choosing to stay hopeful.
Letter from the editor
MYCRO was conceived after I spent a year as President of the Mycology Club at NYU, where I had begun to envision a publication that brought attention to the fascinating world of mycology beyond mushrooms, full of thought provoking articles and captivating images that highlight student research, industry developments, and other disciplines working with fungi and microbes.
While at the club, I connected with Mustafa Saifuddin, Visiting Assistant Professor at XE: Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement, who shared with me their vision for a space at NYU where non-science majors could conduct open-ended explorations using microscopy equipment and culturing kits. We jointly applied for and won a Green Grant offered by the NYU Office of Sustainability, and that is how MYCRO was born — a two-part project consisting of a lending lab that provides access for anyone at NYU to explore microbiology and a first-of-its-kind publication at the crossing of mycology, microbiology, and multidisciplinary realms, written in an accessible way.
The tiniest organisms wield the greatest impact by influencing our existence in ways we often overlook due to their being very good at being not obvious. MYCRO aims to be a catalyst for drawing together facts and tales that shed light on the unseen or phenomena so commonplace they are rarely noticed, while fostering a dynamic community of interest around these matters.
This issue is a fusion of art, poetry, food, technology and biodesign. We believe that our goal to bridge diverse fields and unravel the profound connections between the microscopic and the macroscopic has paid off. Our contributors don’t have all the answers, but they ignite curiosity, provoke thought, and celebrate the beauty and unexpected consequences of minuscule life forms. We hope you enjoy flipping through it as much as we did making it.
– KATYA BLOOMBERG
MYCRO would not have been possible without the support from the Green Grant provided by the NYU’s Office of Sustainability
founding editor KATYA BLOOMBERG
is a food and nutrition scholar, educator and mother. Hailing from Kazakhstan, Katya has a special interest in technology and its effects on cultures, food, and our collective future. As the founding editor of MYCRO Mag, she midwifed the project from conception to implementation. She also takes pride in fostering connections in her local community by managing a CSA and distributing copious amounts of homemade ladzhan (Ладжан, an Uyghur chili sauce used liberally in Central Asia) to her friends and family. Katya is currently finishing her MA at the department of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU Steinhardt.
is a Brooklyn-based freelance graphic designer, strategist and educator. She centers the use of design thinking to co-create equitable, sustainable and impactful design solutions alongside researchers, strategists and stakeholders. Shelby recently designed the digital brand system for Edible Chicago, collaborated with the Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN) and designed the print and digital issues of MYCRO. She explores the ways identity, food and symbiosis overlap through her personal work and is finishing her MA in the department of Nutrition and Food Studies at NYU.
is a Visiting Assistant Professor in XE: Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement at NYU. Mustafa is an ecologist with a particular interest in microbial ecology, soil biogeochemistry, mycorrhizal fungi, and environmental and climate justice.
CECILIA CROWE is a sophomore at NYU’s Steinhardt school with a double major in Studio Art and Environmental Studies. She enjoys writing letters on her ‘55 Alpine Blue Silent Super typewriter, carrying all her art supplies around New York City in her handmade pack basket, and encouraging her friends to recycle their clean and dry soft plastics at a local drop-off point! She also loves all kinds of art, chickens, old-time jams, working outdoors, and collecting magical and strange little objects.
JUAN FERRER co-founded, and has been directing and curating Museo del Hongo, or Fungus Museum, a pop-up museum in which his thrill for science and passion for art converge since 2016. Through his curatorial work, he questions disciplinary boundaries by proposing intersectional narratives in science engagement within a museum space. His work has been featured in Telluride Mushroom Festival, Ars Electronica Festival, Berlin Science Week, Santiago Media Arts Biennial, Centro de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona, among other interdisciplinary events. Currently, he is a student at NYU’s XE: Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement program.
HENRY GROSECLOSE is a writer interested in ecology, poetry, and form. He graduated from NYU in 2023 and currently works on a mushroom farm in Queens. In his free time he enjoys walking around parks and collecting specimens.
DIANA KAPLUN is a watercolor artist. She lives and works in Almaty, Kazakhstan and firmly believes that beauty will save the world.
KATHERINE REEDER is an artist and textile designer creating at the intersection of biology, technology, and design. She is currently working at Ecovative design, a biotechnology company focused on growing the future of materials from mycelium.
SOPHIA RIZZOLO is an interdisciplinary scholar, artist, and aspiring lichenologist. Her work explores temporality, lichen-human collaboration, and becoming-with the more-than-human kin that surrounds us. She will be graduating with a Master’s of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at NYU in May.
WEIRAN TAO is a multifaceted, NYC-based designer, researcher, and maker with a focus that spans multiple disciplines. Her academic journey has equipped me with a well-rounded understanding of design and fostered a holistic mindset. Weiran’s interests lie deeply in the wonders of ecological systems and those unknowns that are not yet discovered in nature. She always wondered how tiny parts of a product are acquired, assembled and adapted. The rise of the circular economy captivates her as well — it is where discarded bones from a meal can be turned into fine china plates, or tons of old shoes destined for the landfill find new life as repurposed shoe components. Commonly overlooked items we valued as trash may actually have a vital role in closing the ecological loop. She envisions herself one day being an active participant in this transformation, creatively contributing to the further development of a sustainable, circular economy.
ORKAN TELHAN is the Chief Information and Data Officer at Ecovative. He serves as the president of the Biodesign Challenge. He was Associate Professor of Fine Arts - Emerging Design Practices at University of Pennsylvania, Stuart Weitzman School of Design and is a former co-founder of Biorealize. Telhan investigates critical issues in cultural, environmental and social responsibility. His individual and collaborative work has been exhibited internationally.
Telhan holds a PhD in Design and Computation from MIT’s Department of Architecture. He was part of the Sociable Media Group at the MIT Media Laboratory and a researcher at the MIT Design Laboratory. He studied Media Arts at the State University of New York at Buffalo and theories of media and representation, visual studies and Graphic Design at Bilkent University, Ankara.
JASMINE TEMPLE is an oil painter and bio-artist born in Northern California. She recently began the PhD program in Biomedical Sciences at UCSD. Seeking to continue her study of humanity and biology and how those boundaries can be pushed, she began working on a bio-art initiative, the Yeast Art Project (www.yeastart.org). In the Yeast Art Project, she combines her two passions by genetically manipulating yeast cells to express pigmentation and applying a pointillism technique — commenting on the human influence on nature for the purpose of artistic endeavors. Pushing what a normal yeast cell can do, she is introducing individuals to the process of scientific exploration by creating living art pieces.
ROBERTA TRENTIN is a multidisciplinary artist who works in collaboration with the materials and the unknown outcomes. Her work explores overlooked stories of fungi and plants in the more-than-human world. A background in science and a love of the earth result in an interweaving of macro/micro-observations and deeply personal stories. Roberta splits her time between the forests of the Hudson Valley and Brooklyn.