***this is an actual working gear designed like the camerae of a nautilus hemishell, a logarithmic shape. ASTOUNDED.***
So, the long short story is that I’ve heard in a Science podcast about 2 years ago, that there are Do-It-Yourself Bio labs cropping up everywhere. Essentially, it’s a space that is not strictly for biologists/scientists. In some cases, it can be a low-level biohazard (level 1) lab, and people get to do wet lab things like make a glow-in-the-dark goldfish or paint using microbes. The Science podcast mentioned a wet lab called Genspace in Brooklyn, NY so I went during Christmas break. There I met Ellen Jorgensen and asked her what kinds of stuff they do for members. Apart from the regular PCR parties, they also host a four-session long wet lab workshops like synthetic biology. They will even host your own super-nerdy birthday party.
So, I said, “I wish they had something like that in Toronto where I live”, and that’s when she mentioned DIYBIO TO .
I talked about it to my friend Anthony, a Biology-curious Mechanical Engineering student. He had been meaning to go to something like a biohack lab, and I said, “YEAH! We have one in Toronto!!!” That pretty much sealed the deal for him. So we went. We attended a meeting called “Molecular Biology of the Cell Study Group”, which was a more casual setting for the exact same book we were studying in Cell Biology I with Dr. Botelho in 2nd year. I got to see non-biology majors react to it like “WOW!” or “So, what’s a domain? Because I read that chapter over and over and I can’t quite visualize it ,” instead of “Will this be on the exam?” (also an understandable question given a formal university circumstance). So it was quite enjoyable to listen to it again in a different way. Another friend Mary (who loves this stuff in a way I’ll never understand) came with us. She was my go-to refresher girl for questions like, *whispering during lecture* “What are aquaporins again?”
So, Justin Pahara was our lecturer for the evening from Cambridge University, and co-founder of Synbiota . He was a cool dude, very passionate about molecular modelling, especially about this program called Chimera. And I thought Avogadro (introduced to us in 2nd year Organic Chemistry by Dr. Johnson) was already intense. Chemdraw is another buzz word among the chem students.
These were pictures I took while I was there. In the biohack lab, 3D printing and robotics seem to be a huge hit, but they’re pushing for a wet lab too. Another girl said she’s already on her way to getting an art studio set up to be more of an art-science mash-up. Also very exciting.
(click on any of the circles to see the gallery)