Thomas Landrain La PAIllasse

This is a very significant event. This is a bridge for us here, with the DIYbio congress, and we are looking for.. at least, between regions like, in Europe and here on the coast. So, I am here to present you about La Paillasse, which is the first community biotech lab in France. It was founded actually only 2 years ago. So it was only in existence for 1 year. It is quite excited actually, it is the very first project.

I am doing a PhD in synthetic biology in Paris. Co-founder of the first French iGEM team in 2007, and we were a finalist for prize for the best foundational research. We had no classes for that, so we did everything ourself. The researchers finally came to the club because that was the only place to learn synthetic biology.

In 2008 I started my PhD in biology, under a cosmology physicist, and she wanted to go into... with more than one year, I had to do my own lab where I'm doing my own PhD. So in 2010 I co-founded La Paillasse.

This space is not- it's very structured in the sense is that it's in quads. It's pretty movie like for, it's like an appetitzer for the FBI to look at the pictures. This year I am also the supervisor for the iGEM "evry" team. We have some collaboration between this iGEM team and La Paillasse.

As I was saying, it started in autumn 2009 when I first heard about DIYbio, I saw an article and read it. I was participating in iGEM and I saw that this was clearly in the spirit of iGEM, which was defusing to more biotechnology. It took me some time to get people to come to regular meetings. So in 2010 we were making the bioahcker, we only meetup and talk about diybio but there were some people doign things, but we didn't have any lab space.

We got the residence from Spring 2011 during one year called .. very new space that just opened, it's a museum only for art, it used to be .. from the 17th century, and that was quite the center of Paris, to expose ourselves publically and get more members and more people coming to our regular meetings. At the end, we came up with a new name called La Paillasse, which means "the bench" in French. It means almost as close to 'biohacker' as possible. I mean, anyone would call their space "biohackspace" in the movement. So, what word means that, and we were thinking that everyone uses bench, well this word is used very seldomly in French, so the word is memorable.

We created the organization La Paillasse, because we had opportunities to get equipment donated. But only to official groups, so that's why we created a group. During December, we had many opportunities to get free equipment, Genopore, which is the biggest French biotech- about 100 biotech companies- and they supported us by donating equipment. It was small stuff of course, but that was great that equipment could come this way. At the end of the summer, we had.. at that time, we had discovered that.. was not valued at a s.. and it was, apartment, and it was a 4th floor building completely full of equipment. The company went bankrupt but left all the equipment behind, when meeting this space it was amazing, it was just quite messy, there were signs of biohazards everywhere, there was no electricity, no water, there was nothing. At the end, I wondered what do we do, how do we get this equipment out, so we contacted someone, and we said we want to do nice and clean projects on biotechnology and that would benefit a lot to us if we could get access to the equipment for free.

So we took all the equipment we could, assuming we're going to take more because we have to add some space to store it, so, we got access to this equipment before teh space, so we didn't have space at first, we had equipment first. At the end, we cut a deal with a local hackerspace called tmplab which is one of the first in France, and they had some space, but 15 to 20 sq meters, and they wanted to know if we would join. So we did. During the winter 2012, we installed all the equipment we have, and we want to start projects in the spring.

We have 10 core people. we have a larger community of 20-30 people, and about <100 on a mailing list. It's very diverse. We have a lot of designers and artists, that first came because.. remains as an ember because they like the atmospheres. We are lacking women. Please bring your women. That's pretty strange because you would expect artists and designers would be women, but apparently not.

This is the space where we were, it was a very nice space to make conferences together and talk, but it wasn't a good place to do a lab, a place for keeping things clean, or doing bacteria or anything. This is our lab, as it is right now. It's pretty small, I don't know, about 15 to 20 sq meter. As you can see, big equipment that is bigger than what we needed, but that's where the equipment.. and, it's situated within the hackerspace, so it's in the basement, this is inside the lab where people can just work on their computer of the lab. It's a pretty nice space, the atmosphere is really cool. And this is all for free because it's a space given to us and tmplab for free by the Society for Rae..something..friends. This was used by artists, and then one artist does tmplab. So since when get the space for free, and it keeps the membership prices down so low, at 20 euros per year. Some of the equipment was too large for entering into those rooms, like the freezers, so that's still in storage.

We started with simple projects, like bioreactors.

Bioreactor Proteik Music Neurohack Bioethics DNA barcoding Biotic games Partnership with local iGEM team (Evry) Partnership with iSSB (Institute for Systems and Synthetic Biology) for synthetic biology projects

We do some neurohacking. We have a good number of people that actually work on detecting brainwaves and bringing into machines or videos or musics or even more focused scenes. We had a workshop on bioethics because it was important and we are in a position that we have the rights to ask the good questions and to push them to the public. We're still starting to do these experiments. Then, maybe you guys have heard of biotic games, it's a brand new and cool concept that I first heard a few months ago by a team out of Stanford. Biotic games, the characters are actualy organisms, so you look at bacteria or anything, and you try to track these organisms in a way that you have a game played in the environment. I encourage you to just type biotic games into Google, you will find some nice videos.

What could we do at the microscale, and one thing we are doing is working with .. steppers? We found, we show you in a later video, of the tadpoles and following the direction they do with lights. We have a partnership with a local iGEM team, and the supervisor is working on frogs. It would be the first iGEM team to introduce vertebrates to the iGEM competition. Before, everyone has been doing bacteria, but nobody has yet worked on a whole organism, so it brings some questions about tissue labs or tissue communications. There are some issues as you have heard in Europe about doing gene work in your lab, you need to have a license and this is just hard to get. So we're making partnerships with my institution and iSSB, so that an iSSB member can get there, and someone can do their experiment, and they could produce naturally their work.

Just some pictures, we have some teachings. This is an installation of doing bioreactors where we have of the .. and as you ccan see, we also have the microscope setup so that we can observe in real time the algaes that are being used. And this was done for a museum exhibition, and they were interacting with these bacteria using some devices that use microfluidics to.. what?

This is a picture of the lab where we do gene extraction. We did some cellulose experimetns. This is a pancake of dry cellulose. The designer was working with a collaboration.. one of the oldest ones in France.. and she wants to.. and the designers/students want to work with biomatter, but just can't because they don't have that knowledge. We made this collaboration so they can do these projects. So we have these students, and they are imagining ways to produce objects.

This is a bioluminescent project. I hope you can see the blue dot on the screen. And then this is a video, this is a very nicespot, I don't know what, but I want you see the tadpole, the blackdots, so, you can see, the tadpoles are afraid of the black dots, and we want to use this so that we can make an aquarium with a camera around and a screen on the back, and we try to .. so that we can interact with the tadpoles. The idea would be to actually use some machine learning so that you don't see the black dots anymore, and you just see the tadpoles going right/left/up/down. Then the question is how many dots should you use for which directions and what vectors so that the tadpoles can do what you want. These are robots or cyborgs or something, but it's really just light, it's just about behavior. You can get tadpoles from water from ponds or whatever.

This is one of the neurohacking projects. The idea is to see brainwaves that people are producing, and interacting with a robot with lights, and see feedback on your own activity. So it would react to your own reactivity. It's very strange message with the robot.

As I told you, we have a few partnerships for the biotic games, but for doing synbio projects, and then University Campus SupBiotech. We are still getting licensing to work with genes. SupBiotech is waiting to give us free space because of the dynamics that we would bring to their own school.