BioCurious Heads to the White House

President Obama is hosting the first ever White House Demo Day, tomorrow August 4th. The focus is around American entrepreneurship, showcasing innovators from all around the country showing off their success and discoveries.

BioCurious is home to amazing innovations in biotechnology. Launched as a hackerspace for biotechnology in Sunnyvale, California in 2010, BioCurious is a complete working laboratory, training center, and meeting place for citizen scientists, hobbyists, activists, and students.

BioCurious is a membership based lab where anyone can come an learn how to use biotechnology tools, make friends, and even start companies. This new model resulted in some amazing collaborations between people from many different disciplines, similar to how electronics and computer science were opened up to innovation with the launch of personal computers.

Home to Biotech Innovations

Executive Directory Eri Gentry is flying to the White House to show off 5 Community Projects from BioCurious. Community Projects at BioCurious are open to the public and developed by people just like you who come to work at BioCurious:

Real Vegan Cheese: making cheese using synthetic biology. This started as an summer project for the iGEM competition. Members of Counter Culture Labs in Oakland and BioCurious in Sunnyvale collaborate on the project, which has now spun off into its own company. You can learn more about Real Vegan Cheese at

3D Bioprinter project – Printing with biological materials. Similar to 3D printing, but using actual living cells. The group is working now to print a living leaf that’s able to to photosynthetisis. The printer is based on the open source Rep-Rap 3D printer.

2015 Bay Area iGEM Team – In 2014, the Bay Area iGEM Team won the “Best Community Labs Project”. Following the success of the Real Vegan Cheese team, this years team is working to create . They are launching a crowd funding campaign in the coming weeks. For more information, sign up for the BioCurious mailing list here.

Plant Bio Project – enabling plant biotechnology in the Bay Area, including discussion on GMO vs non-GMO (genetically modified oragnisms), lab techniques, and working with plants.

Microscope Project – working to build an open-source fluorescence microscope, starting with parts hacked together from a older Illumina DNA Sequencer donated to the project.

Learn More Online:

Tune in: Anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship can watch White House Demo Day live from start to finish at

There’s 3 ways to learn more about BioCurious:

Learn More About BioCurious: Sign up for email updates about upcoming classes and workshop and announcements from BioCurious here (Email signup form)

Upcoming Classes and Community Projects: See upcoming events and sign up at

Visit BioCurious online at

About BioCurious:

BioCurious is a volunteer run, 501c3 non-Profit, started in 2010 by a group of 6 co-founders and $35,319 from Kickstarter. BioCurious believes that innovations in biology should be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone. We’re building a community biology lab for amateurs, inventors, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to experiment with friends. Based in Sunnyvale, California, it is the place to be if you are interested in biotechnology:

– a complete working laboratory and technical library for entrepreneurs to cheaply access equipment, materials, and co-working space
– a training center for biotechniques, with an emphasis on safety
– a meeting place for citizen scientists, hobbyists, activists, and students

To learn more, visit

BioCurious Cookbook: Ivory Tower Crumble

ivory_tower_crumblePaywalls for academic research, expensive reagents, million dollar DNA sequencers. Modern science is often called an ivory tower, high up in the sky where the secrets to truth lay inaccessible to everyday curiosity.

Today, the ivory tower is beginning to change, with low cost open source biotech equipment, biotech hackerspaces like BioCurious, and more scientists publishing their research in open-access journals like PLOS.

Now, like Godzilla, dash the Ivory Tower with your spoon and put it in your belly.

Read the rest of this entry

How Do You Create a Makerspace/Hackerspace?

Mirrored from Quora, since they require an account just to read articles.

The first of many classes at BioCurious, in this case making glowing cells with Green Fluorescent Protein!

5 bio-enthusiasts and I co-founded BioCurious, a biotech hackerspace in Sunnyvale, California. Eri Gentry had nurtured an awesome meetup group of 500+ people into biotech over about 2 years, and we felt that no one had lab space but a lot of newbs and experts wanted to experiment.

The best Hackerspaces are created when an existing community needs a physical nexus. Here’s what I think are the 4 core steps of starting a successful hackerspace.

Read the rest of this entry

We’re Published In: Maker Pro – Are You BioCurious?

Maker Pro: Essays on Making a Living as a Maker

Maker Pro: Essays on Making a Living as a Maker

Maker Pro is out!  Eri Gentry and I wrote a chapter for Maker Pro called “Are You BioCurious?”, sharing perspectives on BioCurious, OpenPCR, and life. Other awesome contributors like bunnie Huang, Mitch Altman, and others. Also proud of my dad Theodore Jankowski for painting an illustration for the book And thank you to my friends who guided and reviewed my writing!

The Maker Pro book is written by 17 Makers, and you can order the Maker Pro book at Amazon now.

Are You BioCurious?

Written by Eri Gentry and Tito Jankowski

Biotech doesn’t have to be limited to labs anymore. There’s cool hardware and low cost hackerspaces springing up and being used by beginners and scientists. With this influx comes new ideas and new applications.

Read the rest of this entry

Excerpt from New Book “Maker Pro”: Measuring the Success of BioCurious

Maker Pro: Essays on Making a Living as a Maker

Maker Pro: Essays on Making a Living as a Maker

Community biotech labs are heating up. But it’s a mistake to measure the success of a community lab by the number of startup companies created or the number of scientific papers published. I think there’s a much greater opportunity than simply re-creating a new university lab/startup incubator model. Today, the biggest opportunity for BioCurious is pushing beyond the technical and into social elements of science. Can we change who makes scientific discoveries? Can we expand the global conversations around new discoveries to include more groups? Can we increase the number of people who have set foot in a biotech lab?

Excerpt from “Are You BioCurious?”, Maker Pro, O’Reilly Media 2014
By Eri Gentry and Tito Jankowski

Read the Full Chapter from Maker Pro for Free Here On My Website

I borrow vocabulary from startup incubators and university labs to explain the success of BioCurious. For example, “We’ve had several funded startups start out of the lab!” resonates with a lot of people in Silicon Valley.

However, to push new frontiers, we must reinvent how we measure the success of biotech hackerspaces. Biotech hackerspaces don’t need to be startup incubators like YCombinator, or a research machines like Stanford University. I think there are bigger challenges that biotech hackerspaces are best suited for.

What might they be? To start, here’s “success metrics” for a few different industries. Read the rest of this entry

Biology As Ideology

“Many people now believe that science is the religion of the twentieth century — that the authority of its clergy (scientists) is beyond question or challenge and that its recent findings can indisputably explain the past and predict the future of human existence and of our individual behaviors.

In this brief extraordinary work, RC Lewontin – – one the world’s most prominent geneticists – – takes to close and informed look at this tidy and showmanlike packaging of science as the panacea for global problems, persuasively demonstrating how science (and scientists) is molded by society and how the dominant social and economic forces in society determines for large extent what scientists do and how they do it.

Science and society in fact exist to symbiotically (hence the title of this book), and by admitting the shadings and limitations with in science we discover book the richness of human nature in the real value of science.”

Biology as Ideology, 1992
Quoted from the back cover
$10 on
 (not an affiliate link)

Space Kisses

My friend Dan Walsh just pointed out that it’s about $10,000 a pound to send stuff up into outer space.

I looked up the weight of a Hershey’s Kiss, and it’s about 5 grams. 453 grams in a pound.

I could send up 1 Hershey’s Kiss into outer space every day for a year for…$40,200.

Maybe a good Kiss-starter project 🙂

This New DNA Test Will Eat 23andme’s Lunch


Screenshot 2014-11-13 08.32.48


Yes, the website totally reeks of trying to sell work-out products. Look below the surface. This new “MuscleGenes” test shows the future of genetic testing — a narrow focus on solving a problem.  See how the underlying business of DNA sequencing is changing? I’m not even an athlete and this sounds way more valuable to me than the nebulous “DNA test” from 23andme.

Read the rest of this entry