Community Bio Lab

Thanks to the support and guidance of @pagexrage, we’re starting a community BIO lab! You can learn a bit more about Paige by watching the Maker Meetup that featured Nyoka bioluminescent light stick:

This will be a very inter-disciplinary project- to keep costs down much of the equipment will be DIY, from 3D printed pipettes, to Arduino controlled heating baths.

So even if you skipped biology at high-school, there’s a good chance that something in this project will be of interest to you!

Potential Programmes We Could Participate In

Genes in Space

High school: design an experiment and see it performed in space!

iGEM: International Genetically Engineered Machines

The iGEM Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of synthetic biology, education and competition, and the development of an open community and collaboration. This is done by fostering an open, cooperative community and friendly competition.

General Resources

Here are some notes from our first planning session, 6th of July.

Lab Levels

Level 1: Starter

Able to investigate microbial ecologies.

Target Activities

Activity Needed Resources
looking at rainwater microscope
soil analysis microscope, glass jar, ph strips , Soil test kits
soil battery (Yes, for making power! ) ??
Dilutions pipettes, glassware
Your own microbiome I: basic cultures Petri dishes, agar
Your own microbiome II: isolating species Petri dishes, agar
Simple DNA isolation (eg strawberries) ??
biomaterials (see below) ??

Activity Notes


  • These are usable substances, like food wraps, that can be made from things sourced from nature
    • eg kelp
      • everyone in BC has a license to harvest up to 100kg?
  • agar
    • Diy from Kelp?!
  • Orange peel
    • Blend it, cook it, seperates, can make a food wrap
  • Banana peels
  • Mycellium bowls
    • Bake to kill
    • Evocative starter kit (GIY - grow it yourself)

Required Resources

Level 2- Getting Serious

Operating at BioSafety level 1:

  • Non pathogenic organisms, no harm to humans or environment
  • mostly a set of guidelines

Adds exploration of genetic engineering.

Target Activities

Activity Needed Resources
Genes in Space ??
IGN ??
D7 Yeast ??

Activity Notes

D7 Yeast

  • modified aimes test- mutagenecity assay
  • Detects 3 types of mutations
    • Eg carcanogenic
  • requires oxotrophic media with Histoden knockout

Required Resources

Level 3- We’re a Real Lab

Aside from Julian: this level might best be achieved by partnering with a company doing, or looking to set up, commercial testing. Would be good to talk to NIC, CVEDs, Chamber of Commerce, local Farmers, farmers market, etc.

BioSafety level 2:

  • Some pathogenic strains, eg some e-coli
  • Has some certification
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Topic made into a wiki topic (can be edited.)

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Microscope: a basic optical microscope could be nicely upgraded with something like this:

This 60-120 portable microscope could be a good set. In theory, has built in adapter to use phone camera:

A solid beginner scope?

Binocular Compound. Read the comments for how someone added a DIY darkfield filter:

Will also ask around the community to see if someone has a reasonable microscope they no longer use.

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Hi All! I am so excited for this part of the Make It Zone!

Here is a link to the 'Introduction to your Microbiome" workshop we held in July!

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