The really dig 3D printing. really digs 3D printing.

***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)


One thought on “DIY BIO TORONTO

  1. David Lloyd-Jones says:

    Love your gear: reminds me of when I first read about non-round rolling things (in Lancelot Hogben’s “Mathematics fr the Million” when I was seven): I ws utterly astonished that three or more intersecting segments of a circle could give you the cross-section of something that a person — in Hogben’s case some bunch of Egyptians rolling blocks up to a pyramid, I think it was — could roll just like round logs.



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