Fundraising for a New Lab Space
As you may know, our group has been out of action for the better part of this year. We have some big plans (see below) but first we need a space. In order to judge how much monthly income we will have from donations by regular members, we need to get a head count. The two things we need to know are:
(1) Are you able and willing to contribute $50 per month?
(2) Are you able and willing to contribute 3 months ($150) up front? And by up front I mean like tomorrow, or soon thereafter.
So go to the Google form below and let us know:
If you need a little more incentive, once we move in we will be offering a few classes for those wanting to get their feet wet, as well as a synthetic biology class in partnership with Jef Boeke's lab at Johns Hopkins. Please note there may be extra fees for these classes to cover our material costs.
Build-A-Genome - This class at LA Biohackers is a franchise of the Build-A-Genome class at Johns Hopkins. In this class, students of any age or educational background will become familiar with the basic techniques of molecular biology and then embark on their own project to create a 10kb genome fragment which will be submitted to the Sc2.0 Project - a project to engineer a completely synthetic yeast species. Not only will students get their feet wet learning molecular biology, they will have fun working on their own project and also be contributing to a real, cutting edge research project.
The Sc2.0 Project started in Jef Boeke's lab at Johns Hopkins University, funded by the NSF with the goal of designing a new version of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and synthesizing the new genomes from scratch. Aside from being a synthetic organism, the new yeast will have many features which make it more amenable to experiments and engineering. The Build-A-Genome course at Johns Hopkins started in 2007 and offered undergraduates an opportunity to get hands on experience in engineering a synthetic genome. Since then the class has started "franchises" at Loyola University in Baltimore and Tianjin in China. In 2012, the franchise was expanded by the invitation of Jef Boeke to allow for citizen scientists of all educational backgrounds at LA Biohackers to participate as well.
Intro to Molecular Biology - In this course participants will get hands on experience learning the basics of molecular biology. You will learn how to do PCR, restriction digests, ligation, and bacterial transformations. You will splice a gene coding for green fluorescent protein (GFP) into a laboratory strain of E. coli. Using the knowledge and experience from this course you will be able to do your own, more advanced molecular biology experiments.
Personal Genomics - In this hands on course participants will learn the basics of PCR and DNA sequencing. You will extract DNA from a cheek swab and use PCR to amplify a region of interest (either BRCA1, ACTN3 or CCR5) then determine the sequence of that region. Using the sequence, you can determine useful facts about your genetic predisposition to certain conditions.
Plant Transformation - Ever wonder how scientists genetically modify plants for research purposes? Now you can learn in this hands-on class where you introduce a fluorescent gene from a jellyfish. Participants will receive training in the techniques and receive all the plasmids and bacterial strains to do it on their own. The end result is a plant whose plasma membranes fluoresce red.