Posts Tagged ‘diybiomcr’

DIYbio joins the Revolution!

Monday, November 19th, 2012

The Manchester DIYbio group took its place alongside fellow bio-revolutionaries at The Revolution will be Bio-Based, a forum for discussing the future implications of contemporary biological research. Hosted by both the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum and the ESRC Innogen Centre, the event consisted of a number of talks and workshops. These included discussions about how DIYbio can ignite young people’s interest in the life sciences and how developments in biotechnology could benefit the UK economy.

The Manchester DIYbio group hosted a series of interactive activities, which showcased various low-tech protocols for experiments in genome extraction and demonstrated how anyone can make a microbial fuel cell using soil. There was a plethora of home made equipment such as magnetic stirrers, a PCR machine and other 3-D printed components that would be used by equipment in the modern laboratory.

As an opportunity to see how contemporary research in the life sciences transcends disciplines, the event was very successful, bringing citizen scientist and academics together to exchange ideas and learn more about society’s perceptions and the sort of research that is being done in the UK today.

A weekend (and more!) of Science

Monday, November 5th, 2012

For three days, including a whole weekend, the Madlab was a hive of science related chaos and fun as people from all over the North West came together to take part in a series of workshops and events.

 Kickstarting the madness at MadLab for the Manchester Science Festival 2012 was the Robot Hackday where burgeoning roboticists and engineers could put their skills to creating new robots out of disused toys, gizmos and mobile phones. (more…)

Brazilian Sandflies and Hacked Webcams

Monday, July 30th, 2012

DIY feeder with mad invetor and an enthusiastic assistantOn the 29th July, the Manchester DIYBio group hosted a double bill of scientific wonders featuring Brazilian sandflies (that’s Phlebotominae to you and me ) and DIY microscopes.

The first session was led by Dr. Rod Dillon from the the University of Lancaster who, along with his team, gave us some background information on the Brazilian sandfly and, most importantly, the diseases it spreads. Sandflies infected by the protozoan Leishmania parasite spread a disease called Leishmaniasis, a disease with the next worst impact on humans after malaria. This disease can cause disfiguring afflictions as well as lethal complications within the spleen which can be seen as the victims’ abdomens swell up, leading to their eventual death. Scientists are still working on a vaccine, so research into the parasite’s genome is crucial. In fact, genome based screening techniques are already used to screen potential vaccines.

We were introduced to several techniques commonly used in the lab – all with a suitably DIY twist. For example, instead of using a commercial feeder filled with blood kept at a constant temperature, Dr. Dillon gave a demonstration with a cocktail jigger filled with warm sugar solution (and some added red dye for artistic effect), some pieces of chicken skin and a makeshift clamp made out of bamboo and elastic bands. (more…)

MadLab spends time with the FBI

Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

A version of this post was originally published in the Guardian on June 18th

At MadLab we’re used to unusual requests. We run a 3,000 square foot community space for science, technology and art in the centre of Manchester, and as a consequence organise and play host to a wide variety of events – from “hacking” toy robots to play football to making kimchi or dissecting octopuses (and eating them). But back in May we received one of our most unexpected queries yet:

I wanted to reach out to everyone to invite you to an upcoming workshop being put on by the FBI. Please join us for the workshop, June 12-14, 2012 in California.


DIYBIOMCR on the Today programme

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Open PCR

If you were up early, you might have caught DIYBIOMCR on Radio 4′s Today programme this morning. BBC science editor David Shukman came round to MadLab’s OpenPCR build workshop last month to report on the “early days in a DIY biological revolution“.