DIY biology projects

The HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a non-profit organization that opened it's doors in April, 2008. One of the great things about this institute is it's commitment to sharing biotech knowledge with the surrounding community. For the general public, HudsonAlpha has a ongoing written series on biology topics called Biotech 101. Teachers will probably find this useful too. There's a great description of Copy Number Variation written by Dr. Neil Lamb, their director of ... Read more
I don't know if any DIY biologists are looking for projects, but I think engineering yeast with a gene to detect heavy metals might be a good DIY biology project and I have some ideas for how to do this. What are the advantages of using yeast and working on this kind of problem?
  • This could have a socially beneficial result. Contamination of soils, water, and even toys with heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and others, is a
  • ... Read more
Some of the things that are attracting people to DIY biology are:
  • the idea of doing science with others for fun
  • the possibility of doing something that might be beneficial to society
  • being part of larger movement
All of those notions appeal to me and since I've been involved with biotech for many years, I have lots of project ideas. After thinking about the yogurt and melamine detection project, I started to wonder if a DIY project could even have a bigger impact, and say, ... Read more
My oldest daughter's favorite sweatshirt is one from the Seattle Children's Theatre Drama School, with the motto, "What's your motivation?" I was reminded of motivation the other day, as I talked about projects with the DIY biology group. It's pretty clear that you can't pick a project without knowing whether you're motivated by the discovery or the application. Many of the people I've known in academia, either researchers or science educators, are motivated by the prospect of discovery. They either want to discover something new or help their students make ... Read more

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