Hello everyone! My name is Matthew Pandelakis and welcome to SANDS’ DIYbio blog page. So, we have been working on a DIYbio branch for a couple of weeks now. This blog post is supposed to bring you up to speed on what we’ve been up to lately and give you a bit of information about DIYbio.
So, let’s start with some general information; DIYbio stands for do-it-yourself biology and it is a fairly new field that as of today hasn’t necessarily been well defined quite yet. The general idea of it is to bring biological research to the public, instead of it being something that is exclusive to large research universities and pharmaceutical companies. It is a much more collaborative and public endeavor than traditional biological research, at least from what I’ve seen so far. Right now, our involvement in DIYbio is still very much in its infancy, but we hope to help bring biological science research to the public in hopes that we can help create a more science literate world, and helpbring people bring their own ideas to life (heh, science pun).
We are just setting up our lab space which has been a bit difficult. One of the biggest challenges that our group has run into has been trying to do everything as cheap as we possibly can. Traditional biological research is a remarkably expensive endeavor, especially when it comes to purchasing equipment. Basic pieces of tech can run for thousands of dollars, and is a big barrier to entry for the average joe interested in participating in biological research. So to get around that we have been working with some open source technology like OpenPCR, and we’ve built our own homegrown incubator… at least we’re trying to.
The last one we built kind of melted and I’ll post some pictures of that. Once we get a fully functional incubator going we are going to be moving in to doing some basic cell culturing work which has all kinds of challenges associated with it, but I think it’s doable. We hope to run a workshop by the end of the semester that will and teach individuals aseptic technique and some cell culturing methods. Next semester we hope to look into doing some PCR work and some genetic engineering work, which I am very excited about!