DIY Bio Toronto Meetup 1

On January 11th, we had the first DIY Bio Toronto Meetup at hacklab. To quote the description of DIY Bio Toronto:

Do-it-yourself biological innovation! We’re inspired by the California group “biocurious”, like them, we believe in the power of open source, open access, and learning in community. We believe this philosophy should be applied to biology! Wouldn’t it be great to have a biology-based maker space here in Toronto? Join us and help make that a reality!

Eric, Alaina, myself and some other hacklabers have been talking about this since Alaina got back from California this Summer, where she helped with the start up of BioCurious — she emphasizes that she only helped with the physical setting up of the space.

The meetup began with a tour of hacklab, but quickly moved on to discussion. We were joined, via teleconference, by Raymond McCauley and Derek Jacoby!

DIY Bio Toronto Meetup 1

Eric was kind enough to take notes, which you can read here. I was really pleased to be able to ask some questions about the safety policies of BioCurious and what legal requirements they encountered — as it turns out, they’re a BSL1 space, like Genspace, and working towards BSL2 . These issues may not be the most exciting thing in the world… But if we want to start something similar in Toronto, I think we need to make sure we cross every ‘t’ and dot every ‘i’ where the law is concerned. Also, safety first!

We concluded the evening with a fun elementary school demonstration where you separate your DNA from some saliva using laundry detergent, salt water, and isopropyl alcohol. It was pretty awesome! In fact, you can see my DNA, it’s the white strands/blobs at the top (it’s purity is questionable, as is how damaged it is):

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