OSCON 2011: Eri Gentry, "Garage Biology And DIYbio"
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Uploaded on Jul 28, 2011
Join Eri Gentry, founder of BioCurious, the world's first "hackerspace for biology" on a journey from garage biology to community lab.
For the first time, serious biological research can be done at home. With the decreasing costs of biotech equipment came a growing community of amateur biologists. The most common name for this group is "DIYbio" (Do-It-Yourself biology), a 2,000 plus group of scientists, students, engineers, artists and entpreneurs, whose interests range from wanting to learn how genetic testing works to wanting to completely overhaul the ivory tower that is scientific research.
What does this group has in common? A passion for discovery and creation in the life sciences. They are signals of change and examples of our inherent human tendencies.
Historically, innovations in science were brought forth by curious and driven individuals or teams -- Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Frankin, Copernicus, the Wright Brothers... They took the name of "gentleman scholar" and met in coffeehouses or pubs to discuss science and policy, giving life to the society -- touched in every way by science -- we live in today.
Since then, research and discovery has become contained squarely within the walls of insitutions, moving further and further from the sight of those whom discoveries directly affect. Until now.
Gentleman scholars have been replaced by "Citizen Scientists," some PhDs, some not (the point is, in this community, degrees don't matter -- what you do with your resources does), coming together once again to make sense of science and see what they can do to innovate: quickly, inexpensively, and collaboratively.
BioCurious is intended to be the modern-day equivalent of the scientific coffeehouse -- a common gathering place for thinkers in all fields as well as budding scientists -- with a lab tacked on.
BioCurious is a lab for the people. If you're smart and you care about scientific discovery, there is a role for you. Eri will tell you about her own transitiion from Economics into this field and how you can also get started.
My two lives: Community Manager of Genomera, a startup focused on health meets social (like facebook + mint.com for health-tracking). Founder and President of BioCurious, a bay area hackerspace for biotech, where education + collaboration = innovation.
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