DIY Synthetic Biology

Registration opens at the fair entrance on the morning of the workshop, and is on a first come first serve basis, so we recommend arriving early.


DIY Synthetic Biology
is a new combination of biology + engineering, based on manipulating DNA to “grow” biologically manufactured substances and materials and establishing an open source database of predictable, re-usable biological parts.  Synthetic biology is being used to generate low cost medicines, clean biofuels and self-replicating architecture + product designs.  In these workshops conducted by Genspace NYC, you’ll learn the fundamentals of synthetic biology, personal geneomics and DIY lab equipment.  Plus, you’ll conduct your own lab experiments to experience first-hand the latest techniques for modifying and “programming” DNA.  Synthetic Biology is still a very new field and Maker Faire Africa is one of the first organizations to bring this new science to the continent.  So don’t miss these workshops!  It’s a perfect time to learn what this cutting edge science is all about and contribute to a discussion about its future applications, ethics, and aesthetics in Africa.

DIY Biotechnology

Conducted by Ellen Jorgensen, Ph.D.

DIYbio is the practice of biotechnology outside traditional settings such as companies and universities.  In this 4-hour workshop, we’ll demonstrate how reverse-engineered versions of lab equipment and kits are making it possible for the citizen scientist to make real contributions as well as be creative and have fun. Every participant will build their own critical piece of equipment called a gel box for analyzing and separating DNA. It’s used every day in molecular biology labs as well as artistic expressions such as the Latent Figure protocols of Paul Vanouse.  We’ll also show you the range of experiments that can be done by citizen scientists such as identifying species though DNA barcoding, exploring personal genomics, and DIY testing of environmental samples.  This is a great workshop for anyone who wants to learn the basics of DIY Biology.

Offered twice :

Thursday, October 6th, 2-6pm
Friday, October 7th, 2-6pm

Personal Genomics Using PCR

Conducted by Oliver Medvedik, Ph.D.

A vital tool that is used throughout DIY molecular biology is PCR (polymerase chain reaction), invented by Nobel laureate Dr. Kary Mullis. Its myriad uses have evolved from the basic amplification of DNA for cloning in research, towards the construction of novel genetic components in the burgeoning field of synthetic biology and in diagnostic assays in modern medicine and forensics.  In this workshop, participants will use this technique to amplify a portion of their own DNA.  You will then get a chance to analyze the genotype using another broadly used technique; gel electrophoresis; you will actually see your own DNA!  This workshop is an excellent demonstration of techniques that are now utilized in almost every facet of biology.

Offered twice :

Thursday, October 6th, 2-6pm
Friday, October 7th, 2-6pm