BioCurious is a new co-working space in Silicon Valley for bootstrapping bio entrepreneurs.  They offer a complete working laboratory, technical library, co-working space, and a training center on biotechniques.  Andy Oram wrote about them today in “BioCurious Opens Lab in Sunnyvale” and observes:

BioCurious is not a substitute for formal training in biochemistry, biology, and genetics. But it is a place for people to get a feel for what biologists do and for real biologists without access to expensive equipment to do research of their dreams.

I thought of my two children, both of whom pursued musical careers. I wondered how they would have felt about music if kids weren’t exposed to music until junior high school, whereupon they were sat down and forced to learn the circle of fifths and first species counterpoint. That’s sort of how we present biology to the public–and then, even those who do show an interest are denied access to affordable equipment. BioCurious is on the cusp of a new scientific revolution.


Science was once a cultural activity, carried out by wealthy “gentlemen scholars” who had the leisure and material resources to experiment. The 20th century saw an unprecedented centralization of science around an industrial model. The plummeting costs of enabling technologies has brought meaningful biological research back within reach of the independent citizen scientist. From Bio-Art to BioFuels, the wave of next generation biotech applications is set to transform our culture and economy. BioCurious will be Ground 0 for this revolution.


Background reading / Other bio hacker labs

  • 2010 Nature article “Life hackers” (PDF version has great pictures/images)
  • Genspace is a New York nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting education in molecular biology for both children and adults. We work inside and outside of traditional settings, providing a safe, supportive environment for training and mentoring in biotechnology.
  • DIYbio is an organization dedicated to making biology an accessible pursuit for citizen scientists, amateur biologists and biological engineers who value openness and safety. This will require mechanisms for amateurs to increase their knowledge and skills, access to a community of experts, the development of a code of ethics, responsible oversight, and leadership on issues that are unique to doing biology outside of traditional professional settings