Biology is just a wonderfully exciting domain of science!
Regretfully the general public often perceives it as a topic that is extremely complicated, incomprehensible, demands high expertise and in addition is simply scary. “Genetic material”, “cloning” and “genetically modified organisms” are terms that often bring up fear and public debate. Thus far the scientific community has not been terribly successful in fighting this false image.
Biology is part of our daily lives; it is “the stuff of life”!
If the general public was more familiar with the concepts of biology and biotechnology, the fear factor would be erased and people would be able to profit more from science in everyday life. The entry level to understand biological concepts is often out of reach for non-specialists; with help and encouragement from experienced mentors in the fields of Biology and Biotechnology we can eliminate this barrier.
I believe that the best way to learn is to get hands-on experience – that’s why I am passionate about DIY biology movement. Community labs offering place to play around with DNA or microorganisms in a non-official setting have multiplied in the past decade.
I contributed to this movement in my hometown – Warsaw.
I held a series of workshops where everyone could take a shot at extracting their own DNA. I also found a fantastic, supportive community in the Warsaw Hackerspace, where we built lab equipment (centrifuge from old hard drive; cheap thermocycler) and had countless planned or completely spontaneous seminars and workshops on the topic of genetics.
I had a chance to visit similar community bio-labs in Switzerland (Hackarium), France (LaPaillasse), Spain (Bio-hacklab Barcelona), Japan (BioClub) and the USA (ATX Hackerspace, Austin). In each of those places I have met people with the same level of enthusiasm and eagerness to learn new stuff.
It has been an amazing collaborative experience for me and I plan to continue contributing to this community.
I BELIEVE THAT BIO-HACKLABS CAN GREATLY INCREASE INTEREST IN SCIENCE AND SCIENCE LITERACY IN YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY…
To advertise this I prepared a small intro to DIY-biology for evolutionary biologists for the ESEB2019 Congress in Turku. E-poster available here.