Needless to say for many of my visitors, doubtless directed here by a surprisingly popular video of a DNA extraction I performed on a Banana at Mindfield, the event was a big hit for DIYbio/Amateur Biotech. Indeed, it was a hit from almost every angle I can personally imagine, although I'll save a full round-up of events for my personal blog (my mind was somewhat blown open by the festival). Here, I'll just share the highlights that might be relevant to DIYbioers.
The talks at Ignite Dublin #6 were all scintillating and enjoyable, and are now almost all available on Youtube at the Science Gallery channel for your viewing pleasure. I was particularly happy with the representation of the Life Sciences at this event. Conor Houghton, the organiser, is a biologist, as was Ann-Marie Power of the “What Sticks?” talk. Myself and Sean O'Boyle (of the epigenetics epic “You Are What Your Grandparents Ate") are geneticists, as is Aoife McLysaght (who gave a racy genetics talk at Ignite Electric Picnic #1 entitled “Incest and Bestiality").
Work is progressing very well on the first Indie Biotech wetware product, a plasmid vector for DIYbio. To my knowledge, nobody has yet attempted to produce a novel cloning vector by total synthesis before, certainly not for Bacillus subtilis. I'm attempting something largely unprecedented, which ought to be worrying but instead feels exciting. I don't want to share too much at this stage (familiarity breeds contempt, after all), but I will say that I'm attempting to hit as many birds with one stone as possible.
In case it's up your alley, I'll be giving a talk on Garage Biotech and DIYbio at Barcamp Cork on the 20th. It's a free conference, it's held in the webworks in Cork City Center, and there'll be a ton of other interesting talks. My own talk will be a 35 minute affair, and I'll be covering the “why” of Synthetic Biology, some crucial elements of Bacterial Physiology (specifically B.subtilis) you'll need to know to get started, and some information on how you can set up and get started performing synthetic biology experiments at home or with friends.
Introductory Note Perhaps a quick word of introduction. If you don't know me yet, welcome to Indiebiotech.com, my name is Cathal Garvey, and I live in Cork City in Ireland. I'm an avid DIYbio enthusiast, a trained and fairly experienced molecular biologist (specifically, a Geneticist). I believe that everyone with an interest in DIYbio and Synthetic biology should be able to learn and access easily what they need to start experimenting, because I know that until that happens nobody will trust this amazing, transformative technology, even as it grows and develops without them.
Folks from Makerfaire: Here's a link to the Instructions for Making DIY Microbial Media (the homebrew petri dishes) and Isolating Bioluminescent Bacteria! Give them a read through, and let me know if you try them and what results you got! Take care! I've just returned this evening from Makerfaire: Newcastle. I had an amazing time, and I was thoroughly inspired by the people I met there and the things they're doing.