Ellen Jorgensen Genspace

Alright, well. I thought it was marvelous in the beginning sessions that we're here to build bridges with these people that are not from our culture. We build this bridge based on our shared hatred of the press. (That's my personal view, not the view of the US government).

This was taken at our opening party. That's Sung won Lim, Olliver Medvedic, and oh boy, Shayton who's last name I can never pronounce, myself, Russ Durrett and Dan Grushkin. We were founded in 2009. We incorporated as a non-profit also. Our space is pretty small. BioCurious is definitely the largest lab. Ours is only 600 sq ft. We opened in December of 2010. It took us almost 2 years to find an appropriate space to do this stuff in. For those who are the stage where they're not quite in the space they want, persevere and you will eventually find someone.

The BioCurious people covered most of the major points for what they are doing, we're all here for about the same reasons and what we want to foster. We provide a community lab space. We wanted to call it community lab instead of biohacking space. So we have been more militant sometimes refer to ourselves as biohackers. We have lots of outreach programs that I will describe.

That's our lab. It's a messy picture, that was during a recent class. That's our non-bsl1 area. That's our desk area, when you have classes, people sit around that big table, and we project onto the wall. The first space that we had, is that area int he glass. There's another area on the other side, but it's mainly equipment. Here's a closer view of the smaller space. There's some students from high school doing a project. Here's looking uot from the window the part that you couldn't see, to a new space that we've taken over in the building, and you can see various stuff there, a microscope, PCR machine, and that thing on the upper right is probably an FBI agent's nightmare. A homemade incubator. We have a guy who is working on microbial fuel cells, and it grows in a nitrogen atmosphere. He carried it on a subway at like 3am. It's an upside down, like one of those storage containers from kmart or something, with two holes cut in it, and air conditioner or drier duct or flexible things with two rubber gloves on the end into a box, with a tank of suspicious looking gas on the side. Anyway, that's sitting in the lab right now.

I'm doing a lot of DNA barcoding. Olliver does high-altitude microbial sampling. There was also an estrogen/yeast sensor for monitoring water in the NY area. Someone is working on bacteria that work fractal patterns called V. vortex.. this artist wants to do DNA portraits, does PCR on parts of the genome for SNPs that make physical characteristics.. and wants to do portraits without ever seeing them. And there's this guy working on moss, can't remember his name. Another person doing art/tech, he took NIH 3T3 cells. Claudy Nickelson from MIT, he's on our board and biosafety board, it's fine to do mouse and bovine cells. He transformed them to change colors as they go through the cell cycle. We have an iGEM team trying to do a bacterial cellulose project.

So, you can see the sort of projects that we're doing and our capabilities. That's a plant in Alaska that I barcoded, that's a stuff on the roof for Olliver's microbial sampling project. And if the movie would play, those cells would be running around. They were timelapse photos.

We have a bunch of student programs. Last year we had an igem team, and we're doing another this year. This is through local universities. No local unversities wants an igem team. We've tried to get people interested, and last year we dragged some Columbia studnets together, but the universities were kicking and screaming. NYU this year. Nobody is doing teams. So we're doing it at Genspace.

SynbioBridge was from high school students with Sun won Lim. They were trying to improve software for synthetic biology. And student internships sorta on an adhoc basis. The barcoding project was cool because the Sloan Foundation funded this huge project, and the students would get all the reagents for free, and they could come to the centers to do the work. So we had about half a dozen teens coming in and barcoding stuff, it lasted a few months. It was really cool to see the president of Cold Spring Harbor Labs saying Genspace, because CSHL was administering the project for the Sloan Foundation.

We want to steal the bioluminesence idea from the people who are doing it. And BioCurious is welcome to steal our classes too. We do the same things with pcr machines. DNA storytelling was a cool class. That was something that Dan ran where they looked at scifi's ability to predict the future, then looked at what they are saying about biotech and what they may predict.

We've done a whole bunch of outreach. So much outreach and there's so few of us. There's just a lot of stuff that we get asked to participate in, and we always say yes. So it's been quite crazy. Lastly, I just like to give a shout out to all the biosecurity stuff. We did a meeting at Science House in NY with our local WMD coordinator with the FBI (Pat), and now we have given some joint presentations with him to the public. The biobuilding projects, FBI/DIYbio workshops, sometimes we have been tapped to go WMD basic training sessions to determine the difference between a biology lab and meth lab. Mac went to one of those training sessions, those were intense. We had them all doing strawberry DNA extraction. The DIYBIO:CODE thing that Todd runs. We were also asked to talk at the UN WMD Disarmament division. There are 50-40 resolution people. Lastly, but not least, is DTRA has asked us to participate in several meetings and that has been fun.

We would like to, we have about a dozen members at a time. Our membership is different from the BioCurious membership. It's more like, come and meet with us, you can't do it online, maybe the NY scene is different. Each group is going to have a completely individual flavor. One of the things that struck me that was just shown is that, I'd say that 1/3rd of our community is artisan/designers. Much less so on the entrepreneurs or the creative scene. Maybe that's just what the population is. We don't have a huge number of biotech companies in NY, maybe it's too expensive.

We'd like to grow our community, maybe a lot of us this want this, we want to be in mroe touch with the rest of you guys. I feel like we have these meetings, but there's no mechanism to.. no night when we skype together or something. It would be kind of fun to have some kind of, I hate to say it, real structure for something like that. I don't know. We talked about an international night at Genspace, where we would skype into someone from another country, or other hackerspaces in the US. Some people were trying to set that up. That's one of my goals for the future on that.

The other goal was to get more funding. We're completely self-funded. It's much more of a financial mess than Biocurious. Maybe the people at Genspace were moer scientists. We just run on the membership fees and so on. Maybe it would be nicer to get more amounts of money from corporate sponsors or grants. That's the few areas where we have the burning need to push. Anything from Genspace want to add to this? Okay.

Oh, okay. They've been nice to ask me this. I emailed everyone who was on that list, for some reason, I'm not quite sure, I was asked to give a talk at TED in .. something. They said that they didn't want me to talk about Genspace, sine this is TED Global, they want me to talk about the global DIYbio scene which was absolutely terrifying. I am not aware of the global scene as much as I should be. They are only giving me 11min. So, there's about enough time to show one slide and not say anything about anybody, if I am also to explain what DIYbio is to some audience that may have never heard of it.

I got an email today saying that, I asked for slides from people. They said they are going to make a video that is a companion to this to go in depth, I am particularly interested in the international people. If you want, we have a camera with video capabilities, if you could just say a few words, or anything that you would want to say about your organization, about how cool it is, anything you want to say, the guy who is doing the video said he would love to receive these clips, or maybe you could send those directly. So keep it really punchy, and there's a good chance it would get online.

The other thing is that Olliver had a great idea. TED gives away lots of swags. So they have makerbot there, we're going to be there, and someone else, I forget, if you have any stickers, any fliers, anything that you would like to give out, that you would like to see all those rich people at TED get, and possibly be interested in you or fund you or something, let us know, and we'll try to coordinate it. Anyway, that's all I wanted to say.

I like those ideas of stickers. Maybe we could exchange stickers. How many people do the hackerspace passports, I have a stamp, so you can stamp your hackerspace passport. Did someone do a biohackerspace passport, they have their own passports? We have some at the lab I think. BioCurious started first, but Genspace opened first, because of the MV problems they had. So, the press started calling us the first lab, and we've been put up the youtube videos, and people would write in this angry stuff about BioCurious being first.. but we have this friendly rivalry, where we put up our website, then we say oh god biocurious has a better website, or oh no they are offering this class, and we always say that your publicity is much better. Stickers? We never had stickers, how crazy is that? Stickers for TED sounds great. If anyone has stickers with all their URLs or contact info, or anything that we could hand out, these people are from all over the world, and maybe they have money falling out of their pockets so you never know.