Posts Tagged ‘DIYBIO Manchester’

Nesta Hot Topics

Monday, January 28th, 2013

Open PCR
Our afternoon workshop is now fully-booked but there are a few places still left for the evening panel session. To book, please see the link at the bottom of the page.

In the same way that 3D printing is revolutionising product manufacturing, low cost biological equipment is changing how we produce novel biotechnology. Microbrewing was the first industry to grab this opportunity. Experimentation with brewing techniques led to a renaissance in local breweries. But what could be next, and how do we develop the skills to work with these technologies outside the lab?

There are now several open biolabs facilities around the world, aiming to help anyone experiment with biological techniques. There are also echoes of the open source computing community, with the same emphasis on shared tools and collaboration. But are there are good reasons why this could be a lot harder than programming a 3D printer or producing a website.

Biological organisms do not follow the neat logic of a software program. They interact in unpredictable ways; they need care and time to grow; and, fundamentally, they come with the unknowns of natural systems rather than the order of manmade technologies. The complexities of biology might limit the potential success of amateur initiatives.

As biological tools become part of the armory of today’s innovation, is there a new set of skills and norms that come along with these? How does the routine of the lab mash with a creative hack culture? And what level of understanding do you need to do something truly inventive with a petri dish rather than html?

Nesta have teamed up with MadLab to run an event on 7 February. It will start with an afternoon workshop (introducing biohacking in a biolab space), followed by an evening panel discussion on the theme of biological literacy. The panelists include; Asa Calow, DIY Biologist and Founder and Director of the MadLab in Manchester; John O’Shea, artist and creator of the world’s first bio-engineered football; Philipp Boeing, UCL iGem and London Biohackers and Rod Dillon, lecturer in biomedicine, School of Health and Medicine, Lancaster University.

The workshop is designed as a taster for those with little knowledge of these techniques, but more experienced users are also welcomed for the panel discussion.



Registration: 2.30pm

Workshop: 3-5pm


Registration and refreshments: 6.30pm

Evening panel discussion: 7.30-9pm


To book a place on the afternoon workshop, please follow this link - and -

To attend the panel discussion, please follow this link.


DIYBIO Manchester – PCR Challenge

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Bio Hacking in Manchester

Title: DIYBIO Manchester
Location: MadLab
Description: Join the Manchester DIYBio group for their regular meet up
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2012-04-18
End Time: 21:00
Booking: Free, but limited

PCR here, PCR there but which one to use? We’ve been slowly building up our community lab at DIYBIOMCR, and we want to run the first PCR Challenge! We will be amplifying plasmid DNA, from a few copies to several million in the space of a few hours.

DIYBio 19/10/11We have our humble MadLab version of a PCR  machine built by Alex from HacMan from some parts we had lying around at the Madlab, and the open-source OpenPCR kit which is being assembled at the build-a-lab day on February 29th (link here). Two is not enough to run a race, so we will also have MMU’s commercial PCR to compete against as well.

If you’d like to take part in this experiment, come along to MadLab and spend an evening putting these machines to the test. We will discuss what PCR is and why it’s useful. Because it takes awhile to run the machines, we will amplify the samples before hand, and this day will be spent processing and visualising the results from the previous PCR-ing using gel electrophoresis, again using equipment built ourselves at the build-a-lab day. This will involve pouring the gels, running them and staining the gels.

There’ll be pipetting! There’ll be agar*! There’ll be plasmids! And, as if that’s not enough, there will also be DNA origami to fold, snails to look at and lots of tea, coffee and cakes.

* Okay not Agar (which is available in Chinatown), but the purer form Agarose which gives us the “gel” part of gel electrophoresis.