What if you could do your own genetic testing? Or conduct your own experiments on anything you’re interested in? With community laboratories like Genspace popping up around the globe, you can!

I’m willing to bet that a lot of you reading this right now are not scientists. I’m also willing to bet that you believe that because you’re either out of school or want to put your focus on another task, you won’t be able to study our world in a scientific manner. But my friend, you’d be wrong. Let’s step into one of these community laboratories and see what they’re up to.

It all began in 2009 when a group of people from different professional fields got together in a living room to explore their shared interest in biotechnology. From there, Genspace, the first-ever community biotechnology laboratory, was born!

This space, located in Brooklyn, New York, provides the general public a chance to pursue individual and group projects. They’ve also teamed up with high schools and colleges to provide hands-on science learning!

“Genspace continues to be a platform for curious people to follow their imaginations—individual member projects have grown into million dollar companies and revolutionary art pieces.” 1

Now, people from all walks of life are taking a closer look at their DNA, exploring the world of cloning, and uncovering the mystery of which dog is leaving presents on sidewalks! How cool is that? For a quick look into what they’re all about at Genspace, take a few moments with this video!

Via: Genspace 2

They’re offering some seriously cool classes! Like painting with glowing microbes, growing mushrooms, genome editing with CRISPR and so much more! These are for everyone, no degree required.

The beauty of community laboratories

One of the founders of Genspace, Ellen Jorgenson, gave an absolutely wonderful talk on the TED stage about how biohacking isn’t just for those who studied it in school. Science is for everyone, and these community laboratories are giving curious individuals the chance to take a closer look at their world!

So, sit back and let her tell you about all of the fabulous laboratories popping up around the world, and what they’re making possible!

 

Via: TED 3

We are completely made up of cells…

So why do only a few of us have the opportunity to study them? What could we uncover if more people, with different viewpoints and backgrounds, were able to put in their two cents? Are there innovations out there that just need someone who doesn’t necessarily have a “scientific mind” to uncover them?

Probably. And it could be you.

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We have one more video for you today from The Avant/Garde Diaries, which features TED fellow and tissue engineer, Nina Tandon, who remarks:

“In my life, I often find that I’m unexpectedly inspired by people who do things very different than what I do. In that sense, Genspace is an amazing place to be.”

Hear about her groundbreaking work with stem cells (they’ve created cardiac tissues!) and how, when people are able to come together in labs like Genspace, entirely new discoveries are inspired.

(If you have a few extra moments, I highly suggest seeing how her company, EpiBone, is growing bones!)

How can you look at your body the same way after this? In fact, how can you look at the whole world the same?

Thankfully, we all get to explore it with community labs like Genspace opening all over the world!

Stay open to new possibilities!

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” — Albert Einstein 

Since science isn’t just a subject for those with degrees in the fields… 

Why don’t you see what’s happening in our category all about it?

Science on EWC

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Notes:

  1. “Mission.” Genspace, www.genspace.org/mission/. Accessed 1 Aug. 2018.
  2. “Genspace Cool Hunting Video.” Vimeo, Genspace, 3 Mar. 2018, vimeo.com/206642623. Accessed 31 July 2018.
  3. Jorgensen, Ellen. “Biohacking — You Can Do It, Too.” TED: Ideas Worth Spreading, TED, 13 Jan. 2013, www.ted.com/talks/ellen_jorgensen_biohacking_you_can_do_it_too?utm_expid=166907-10#t-566267. Accessed 31 July 2018.
  4. “Nina Tandon – Biology Is Technology.” Vimeo, The Avant/Garde Diaries, 29 July 2013, vimeo.com/71305863. Accessed 31 July 2018.

Samantha Burns

Executive Assistant, Staff Writer

Samantha is a listener, creator, collector of knick knacks and lover of most, if not all, types of cheese.