Sharif Ezzat is an award-winning science communicator and creative professional whose work has been featured by art and design organizations around the world. He is passionate about using design as a force for good and creating systems that contribute to collective knowledge.
The child of an engineer and an artist, Sharif learned to experiment with materials and forms of expression at an early age. While in college, he joined the international arts group Renaissance 2001 and helped produce several exhibitions connecting traditional and digital art with live audience participation in Japan, Europe, and the US.
Soon after moving to San Francisco, Sharif began collaborating with beatbox artist Yuri Lane on reverberating, digital “sets” to accompany Yuri’s dynamic stage productions. Their first show together, Soundtrack City, showcased the rich texture of urban life through chance encounters of different characters, while their follow-up collaboration, From Tel Aviv to Ramallah, portrayed the lives of aspirational young people in Israel and Palestine who are inevitably drawn into the conflict. They toured together for several years, bringing their unique performance style to theatres and universities across the US and Europe.
Sharif’s interactive prose poem collection Like Stars in a Clear Night Sky was included in the premiere collection from the Electronic Literature Association, and has been featured in museums and universities. He highlighted environmental themes in animated works such as Plant Trees, which was featured by the San Francisco International Film Festival, and Design is a Signal of Intention, used by Bill McDonough in his lectures on sustainability.
Through these experiences, Sharif began to focus his work on science communication. As a member of Genentech’s digital communications team he led the redesign of the company’s complex intranet, which was awarded by the Nielsen Norman Group for excellence in design and usability. He also led the production of Making Medicine, an interactive documentary about the process of biotech research and development, and the animated YouTube video series Big Ideas.
In 2016 he helped launch OpenTB, a citizen science initiative in which players of the puzzle game Eterna were recruited to design a new diagnostic tool for tuberculosis. The project, a collaboration between Stanford, MIT, and the online player community, pioneered the use of gaming to crowdsource the design of medicines.
Sharif continues to apply his expertise in science communication and digital storytelling for clients such as UCSF, Stanford School of Medicine, the Buck Institute, the Innovative Genomics Institute, and many Bay Area biotech companies as a partner at Receptor Studio and through his consultancy Vital Mind Media. He also serves as an associate judge for the Webby Awards, and design director for the Arab Film and Media Institute.