Posts Tagged ‘DIYBio’

DIYBIOMCR on the Today programme

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012

Open PCR

If you were up early, you might have caught DIYBIOMCR on Radio 4′s Today programme this morning. BBC science editor David Shukman came round to MadLab’s OpenPCR build workshop last month to report on the “early days in a DIY biological revolution“.
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DIYBIO Manchester – PCR Challenge

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Bio Hacking in Manchester

Title: DIYBIO Manchester
Location: MadLab
Description: Join the Manchester DIYBio group for their regular meet up
Start Time: 19:00
Date: 2012-04-18
End Time: 21:00
Booking: Free, but limited

PCR here, PCR there but which one to use? We’ve been slowly building up our community lab at DIYBIOMCR, and we want to run the first PCR Challenge! We will be amplifying plasmid DNA, from a few copies to several million in the space of a few hours.

DIYBio 19/10/11We have our humble MadLab version of a PCR  machine built by Alex from HacMan from some parts we had lying around at the Madlab, and the open-source OpenPCR kit which is being assembled at the build-a-lab day on February 29th (link here). Two is not enough to run a race, so we will also have MMU’s commercial PCR to compete against as well.

If you’d like to take part in this experiment, come along to MadLab and spend an evening putting these machines to the test. We will discuss what PCR is and why it’s useful. Because it takes awhile to run the machines, we will amplify the samples before hand, and this day will be spent processing and visualising the results from the previous PCR-ing using gel electrophoresis, again using equipment built ourselves at the build-a-lab day. This will involve pouring the gels, running them and staining the gels.

There’ll be pipetting! There’ll be agar*! There’ll be plasmids! And, as if that’s not enough, there will also be DNA origami to fold, snails to look at and lots of tea, coffee and cakes.

* Okay not Agar (which is available in Chinatown), but the purer form Agarose which gives us the “gel” part of gel electrophoresis.

BEACON update

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Last November DIYBIOMCR received a Manchester Beacon Recognition Award to further develop its community-University partnership.

The award money will go towards creating resource documentation in the hopes of providing guidelines for other citizen science projects. More DIYBIO for everyone!

We were recently interviewed by Jim Ralley about our partnership. Have a listen to Asa Calow from MadLab and Martyn Amos from MMU.

OpenPCR at DIYBIOMCR

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

DIYBIOMCR February was a team building workshop, putting together an OpenPCR. We had about 20 attendees from various backgrounds (even one from Birmingham!) interested in DIYBio. Here is Dan Hett’s summary of what happened.

Last week’s DIYBio was a special event, to get stuck into building a couple of PCR machines. In addition to our home-made one, we also got our hands on what we think is the first OpenPCR machine in the UK.

Getting a bit ahead of myself though. What is PCR?

PCR is a relatively simple and inexpensive tool that you can use to focus in on a segment of DNA and copy it billions of times over. So, even with a small DNA sample, such as from spitting in a tube, or tearing off a piece of a leaf of lettuce, PCR allows to you make a bunch of copies of the DNA so you have enough to analyze. PCR is used every day to diagnose diseases, identify bacteria and viruses, match criminals to crime scenes, and in many other ways.

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DIYbio – Brazilian Bloodsuckers and DIY Microscopes

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Bio Hacking in Manchester

Title: DIYbio – Brazilian Bloodsuckers! and DIY Microscopes
Location: MadLab
Date: 26th July
Start Time: 19:00
End Time: 21:00
Booking: Grab a spot here










Our next DIYbio event is a bit of a 2-in-1 with Dr. Rod Dillon, lecturer in Life Sciences at Lancaster University and co-director of the LabC BioArt collective. We’ll be taking a look at Rod’s speciality bloodsucking insect, the Sand Fly. He’ll be bringing some live Brazilian sand flies for us to feed by transforming a cocktail jigger into a sandfly feeder.

There will also be dead blood-fed flies ready to be dissected and examined with our DIY USB (OMG) Webcam Microscopes which we’ll be building on the night, Hackteria-style. Importantly, all of this will be conducted with a Brazilian music soundtrack and optional, non blood-based, cocktails!

NB: We’ll have a few USB webcams to hand, but if you want to bring one with you to hack and take home, our recommendation is the Logitech C120 – all the other parts required will be freely available on the night.