Monday, April 08, 2013

HiveBio: a DIY biology lab for Seattle

Seattle is one of the few cities with a big biotech industry lacking a community lab space. Katriona Guthrie-Honea and Bergen McMurray are going to fix that by creating a DIY bioscience lab. The Seattle HiveBio Community Lab will be a community supported Do-It-Yourself (DIY) biology hacker-space or maker-space.

Katriona Guthrie-Honea is a student at Ingraham High and an intern at Fred Hutch. Bergen McMurray is a neuroscience student and an alumna of the Allen Brain Institute and Jigsaw Renaissance, a maker-space in Seattle's International District.

Worrying about an "innovational stagnation period" because not enough people are learning and playing with biotech, Guthrie-Honea wants to provide a place where people of all ages can do just that.

Synthetic Biology was founded on the idea of bringing an engineering mindset to biotechnology, with one result being BioBricks, the beginnings of a set of modular components. The iGEM competitions drive education and open community around synthetic biology.

But, one could argue that a standard engineer wouldn't make a centrifuge out of a salad spinner or a ceiling fan. To do that, what you need is a hacker.

I love the idea of bringing the hacker mentality to life sciences. Just like we should all take the lids off our computers and root our phones, we should be hacking the yeast in our beer like mad scientist Belgian monks.

Anticipating a May opening, Guthrie-Honea and McMurray are seeking funding from Microryza, which is like a Kickstarter for science, and a great idea in itself.

Do you love the idea, too? Want to help? Just like Kickstarter, Microryza is a crowdfunding platform. Check out their project and kick in a few bucks.