Notes 20110526

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Initial discussion among people interested in bio projects

  • Attendees:
    • David Rostcheck
    • Philip Wrage
    • Joe Southwell
    • Micah Smith (not a member yet)
  • Importance of building maker competency in synthetic biology within the Metroplex. Synthetic biology and genomics represents the next exponential technology revolution, building on information technology; we are still in the equivalent of the Homebrew Computer Club days when access to resources will be a huge competitive advantage later
  • Background discussion for some members on Synthetic Biology (see Bio Projects (IGEM))
  • Discussion of feasibility of doing bio projects. Philip (recent PhD in Cellular & Molecular Biology from UT Southwestern Medical Center) says they projects are very feasible with modest resources. Discussion of iGEM (International Genetic Engineered Machines competition), with undergrad and some high school teams competing
  • Biocurious, first bio hackerspace (in SF Bay area) has launched
  • Equipment can be constructed (see OpenPCR) or bought on eBay
  • Winery/brewery equipment may be helpful
  • Many projects would involve electronics and/or manufacturing elements, so they might be good for involvement throughout the Makerspace
  • Potential small demo project: crude gel electrophoresis (using plant matter), involves laser cutter & basic electronics
  • Another potential project: environmental sensor (integrated w/ electronics)
  • Discussion about having intro sessions to educate Makerspace members in the language and feasibility of Synthetic Biology
  • Excellent classes available on MIT OpenCourseware
  • Moodle may be helpful for open courseware management
  • Need for public relations, proactive interactions with:
    • Universities
    • Law enforcement (prevent misunderstandings)
    • Community
  • Need a Wiki page (done, see Bio Projects (IGEM))
  • Todo:
    • Assess related skills & interest within the Makerspace
    • Learn more about iGEM, BioBricks Foundation
    • Study Biocurious
    • Survey local landscape for university contacts and resources and for iGEM teams/alumni
  • Initial goals:
    • Report on feasibility of a basic bio-space
    • Identify catalog of basic demos that could be done safely w/ minimal equipment, rank them by difficulty
  • Eventual goal:
    • Be able to reproduce iGEM projects in Dallas