diybio dutch the netherlands Pieter van Boheemen

At the start of this year, I gathered some friends who are alerady doing things you could call DIYbio, and we put an ad on to see who else is interested in doing this. Then we had people from the Waag Society, which is where the room is in at Amsterdam, and instead of setting up my own lab, they said they had their own lab. So, you're the guys we're looking for. So we were really amazed. The building is from the 15th century. There was a DIYbio lab 400 years ago, and this was from the artist master Rambrandt, which was showing how people were practicing their surgery skills, which they were doing in the very same room where we're doing our work.

Now we know who was the first to do a biohackerspace. No, I am only kidding. Downstairs is a fablab. There's laser cutters, makerbots, all the tools that you need to make hardware. This is the room where meetings are. There are meetings once a month, and we invite people to give a talk. Normally one or two people give a talk, there's usually engineering, science, and a lot of artists are really interested in DIYbio. Almost half the people are artists. To help spark the community. For example, these guys, they make a documentary called Technocalypse, and they believe that technology is not going to save humanity but will destroy us. I am looking forward to seeing their ultimate movie to see how they edit our meeting into it. They are not too positive about it.

Also, one of my friends is doing Designers & Artists 4 Genomics Award. Jalila Essaidi. He had an idea to make an idea to make skin, so he transformed skin, with a particular gene, then he shot the.. that is, 2.6g at 329m/s shot into the skin. Some people called this amazing. There are both positive and negative reactions. Some other people set up the first lab, it was a bioart lab called BoArt Laboratories. It's the foreign Phillips.. it's a big consumer electronics company from The Netherlands, so their HQ is in Amsterdam, and now they are basically giving away space to artists. So last month we opened up a bioarts lab there. But it's not really a lab where you can do experiments, it's just an exposition space. All the equipment you need- you need environmental permits from the local authorities, it takes about 6 months to get it, then you need all the licenses for doing GMO, and that procedure is not made for individuals, they don't know how to deal with us. Also you need at least one biosafety officer, so I'm doing that course in November to get the license, and the biosafety officer has to write 200 pages about the procedures, and he has to make sure all the people know those procedures, and he's also responsible for anything that might happen. So we've been struggling about how open to make it, so you don't want any accidents to happen, and you don't want to be responsible for that. So that's something we've had to deal with.

There has to be 3 people in the lab, you need the scientist, the biosafety officer, and the responsible employee. So at all times you need 3 people there. So we're gathering some equipment, building some on our own, the first step is the safety course and making it mandatory for everyone. We want to do cloning or something, so it would be nice to isolate microbes from soil, that's something that can be done quite easily and I haven't done yet in the diybio community.

All the things we've done so far is that we've gathered some friends that made a PCR machine from a hair drier, and we'd like to transform that into a rt PCR machine. We've assembled an OpenPCR, it was an exercise that was ... there have been talks in other places, t ogive talks about DIYbio in general. But also thinking about some kind of global event to setup. We call it GOODIY Bio, it doesn't exist at the moment, but we're thinking of launching it in September. So we should have some place, before today, make it easy for other people to introduce stuff, and some kind of competition would be a nice way of doing it. I think there's tons of competition to do it, build a race car and things like that, I think competitions help people stimulate each other and pull together and do it. So in September we will invite some speakers. Shifting between.. and DIYbio.. and uh, competition itself we're still thinking about how to build that in, so any suggestions you can go to the website or contact me, I'm still open to how to do that.

Finally, I'd like to acknowledge all the members.

Lucas Evers Waag Society Amsterdam Science Alliance

It's an institution for art and technology. They have a fablab, they have more creative IT labs, and a wet lab. So they do things like isolating DNA and simple stuff, and they were aware of the DIYbio community before I was aware of it. So I took some friends and said hey let's start a community, and they say hey we need your guys, so we just joined forces. So it was a lucky deal.

Yes, we can share our 200 page safety manual, sure. But it's in Dutch. We can Google Translate it.

You are establishing as one lab and having community members working there? Are you working on it, it's just an idea? We're actually working on it, we are getting the licenses in Amsterdam. What about the idea from the Canadian guy, pretending it to be a startup company to get insurances and stuff? One thing is really easy is to setup a company in a couple hours. So yeah, that would make things a lot easier. We would also have to get administration working. It comes with other responsibilities.