Tag Archives: science

HiveBio’s Sheep Brain Dissection Class!

I’ve been super busy and haven’t had time to post much lately, but I still want this to be interesting and somewhat science/ entrepreneur-like! So I decided to replog some of the posts that HiveBio’s amazing social media director (Anna Batorsky) wrote. This one can be found on hivebio.org here

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This afternoon eight members of the community participated in HiveBio’s first run of the Sheep Brain Dissection class. Co-Founder Bergen McMurray led the class through a description of the different regions of the brain and explained how the different cell types connect and function within this amazingly complex system.

Eight members of the community are ready to get their hands dirty to learn about neurobiology

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Bergen McMurray (cofounder) highlights brain regions

 

 

 

 

Bergen explains which areas of the brain are responsible for locomotion, sensory perception, speech, learning, emotions, and why the connection between right and left brain is so important. She also discusses how neurobiology is studied and how neurological diseases were discovered and treated.

Peeling away the outer membrane

The class was routinely encouraged to comment and ask questions. Several discussions focused on oxytocin, the “happiness” chemical in the brain, and the evolution of sexually dimorphic nuclei in the hypothalamus, and how research on this interesting but controversial topic may progress.

HiveBio would like to thank all of our students today for participating in the sheep brain dissection class and contributing to our discussion. See you next time in the lab!

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The Erector Set of the 21st Century

We have reached a critical point for creation. A few hot spots bloom with innovation, but for the most part, our youth sits at home with Mario Kart and first person shooter games. Science education consists of baking soda and vinegar volcanoes, and kids lose interest in any science before they even realize what it is. Instead of embracing technology, we have started to fear the exciting advance we’re making. Newspapers write articles about “Bio-Hackers running Imageloose, threatening our livelihoods, our children” yet, a mentally disturbed man can buy an AK-47 and we can’t even pass an assault weapon ban. The public fears the wrong things entirely; most can’t even accomplish the bio-catastrophes they dread. We regulate and restrict things in the name of protection, yet we these little labs are more likely to make a glow-in-the dark gold fish than a bio-weapon.

We should be convincing kids to play with science, to foster innovation from an early age. The US fast falls behind other countries, but we can help change that. A 6 year old can extract DNA from a strawberry, a 10 year old can try their first experiment with algae. High school and college students should be encouraged and able to test their ideas, but they can’t even order a plasmid online. We need to make simple, and safe biology tools more open and available. We have a safety ranking system for biology, so why is Bio Safety Level 1, “suitable for work involving well-characterized agents not known to consistently cause disease in healthy adult humans, and of minimal potential hazard to laboratory personnel and the environment”, so restricted? Biotech companies don’t even want to deliver simple things like buffers to DIYBio labs. They’re too worried about getting sued.

These materials need to be widely available! Biotech stands poised in the same boom potential as tech and computers 20 years ago, but the difference lies in those with computers versus those with plasmids. We are going to fall behind and lose the potential for innovation if people cannot interact with Biotech. I envision a world where I can go to Amazon, go to the Bio category, and order some plasmids to run my experiment.

As a high school student looking to test an award winning project idea, I spent months looking for a lab to test my idea. After more than 100 emails, and 20 meetings, I found an internship, but I still couldn’t test my idea. What about all the other people that have biology ideas? I got inspired to open a Seattle Bio-Hackerspace, HiveBio, with my co-director Bergen McMurrary. We want to help make biology more accessible to the community. Because E. coli is fun! We need the legislation to change. In the 20s 30s, kids built crystal radios, in the 50s and 60s they built models, my parents played with Erector sets. DIYBiology can be the Erector set of today, but we have to change the legislation to help it and give the youth of today a creative outlet that will propel our society to a better world.Image