Current Stuff: "Biotech for Homesteaders", CyclerCan, Biohacking Workshops

Hey all,

Over at IndieBiotech.com I’ve shared some of what I’m up to, and I may as well mirror it here!

In a nutshell, I’m preparing for a five-day course of Biohacking workshops in the Science Gallery in Dublin, starting Tuesday and ending Saturday afternoon. I’ve had to prepare some mad inventions to make it happen due to equipment restrictions, which you might find amusing or exciting.

The aim of the workshops is to deliver a crashcourse in literacy and skills in biohacking; you should come out of the workshops with a basic understanding of how DNA, RNA and Protein work, how bacteria work, and how to design and build your own GMOs. I don’t promise that it’ll be easy, but rather that you’ll be prepared to work on something exciting with some connecting and collaborating with other biohackers! :)

Here’s my outline of the plan for the crashcourse. It was initially going to involve actually making your-first-GMO using my custom-tailored plasmid, but an application timing mixup means the EPA have not licensed Science Gallery for GMO activities yet, so that’ll have to be filed for “next time”. Instead, I’ll be covering how you could go and isolate DNA from wild bacteria, potentially hack _that_ at home, and replicate some of the work done in the late eighties in biotech with minimal equipment.

I’ll also be covering the ethics, safety and legal aspects of biotech; don’t shy from it, in many ways it’s the most interesting part. What good can come of biotech; how transformative could it be? What bad could come of it, and how can we prepare for it? And how can you do all this in Ireland legally? I’ll be covering all of that.

Working from that, I’m hoping to inspire some excitement about the possibilities of biotech if you _do_ have decent equipment, and if you _do_ have social connections to other skilled biohackers. Finally before walking out the door, I want to drum up some excitement about the possibility of establishing a bio-makerspace in Ireland where driven people can innovate and develop biotech into a unique Irish cultural strength in Europe.