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Weekly news

September 5, 2014

Cat Ferguson

Welcome to the last days of summer, everybody! Let’s all put away our white pants, pour a whiskey, and get ready for fall. Here’s the news!

Hello world: Duquesne will open a community lab this fall


Pittsburgh’s first community lab is opening soon. The wet lab and other resources will be available to students of the school, as well as middle and high schoolers; local businesses will also be able to take advantage. Building begins right about now.

The school is partnering with Urban Innovation 21, a group that supports economic development in Pittsburgh, to build the lab.


 Food hacking at German hacker party


Every year, the Chaos Computer Club in Hamburg, Germany, throws a four-day party between Christmas and New Years. This year, DIYBio-er Frantisek Apfelbeck is organizing a small bio lab to do food and drink experiments as part of the Food Hacking Base Group. If you’re interested, drop him a line here.  

Deadline for submissions is Sept 14, so get in touch before then!

3D printing survey


The Peer to Peer Foundation is conducting a survey among communities that use 3D printing. The data will be open source (though your answers will be anonymous) so if you’re interested head right this way. Should take you about five minutes.


“Is BioGlow being realistic?”


Idealistic glowing plant start-up BioGlow has big plans, including replacing some types of lighting with bioluminescent plants. Some tech writers say that the numbers don’t add up to that being a feasible plan. The DIYBio listserv discussed the possibilities this week, and seem to have left off with a ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Have your own opinion? Send it to the list!

Vote for LA Biohackers to win a $100,000 giveaway!


LA Biohackers are in the running for a grant from the Goldhirsh Foundation. You can vote for them here; they’re looking to get a new space, new equipment, and expand their class offerings. You’ll have to sign up, but there’s no money involved on your end!

Here’s a quote from their grant application:

While kids of the past may have tinkered with Lego or Erector Set, kids of today tinker with electronics. As a result of the miniaturization and decreasing cost of manufacturing, electronics today are more accessible to people of all ages than ever before. Kids at the LA Makerspace (and makerspaces around the world) build robots, design and solder their own electronics, and program computers as a form of entertainment.

Biotech is currently undergoing the same revolution in price and accessibility. While practicing biotech as a hobby is not quite as affordable as electronics, progress is being made and lots of young people are getting involved. We envision a future where kids in LA are just as likely to pick up a pipette as they are a soldering iron. Playing with biology will be as common place as playing with electronics.

LA Biohackers will make this dream a reality before 2050 by getting young people access to laboratory space and advanced biotech equipment in addition to knowledge and guidance. We are currently making this happen but with help we can expand our breadth and scope to include more people of all ages.

Biohackers in the Economist


The Economist, always at the forefront of news and views, has written an article excitedly noting the existence of DIYBio. They’ve tapped some favorites – Ellen Jorgensen, Markus Schmidt, Rob Carlson, and our very own Jason Bobe all get a word in edgewise.

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