>  Eri Gentry
> A Hackerspace for Biotech
> Eri Gentry is a co-founder of BioCurious, a Mountain View based
> non-profit offering the first Bay Area collaborative lab space
> dedicated to non-institutional biology and seeking to bring life
> sciences within reach of do-it-yourself hobbyists and entrepreneurs.
> BioCurious has a short term goal to raise enough money to build
> a basic synthetic biology lab; its long term vision is to create
> new way to incubate biotech ideas, not in million dollar labs,
> a but among friends in informal settings.
> Eri, a Yale-educated economist, will talk about how she became
> involved in the do-it-yourself-bio movement, her efforts to procure
> expensive lab equipment at bargain basement prices, and some of the
> projects members are working on.

Eri began by talking about some work she had done with Livly, a startup in biotech that she had cofounded, an exciting place to work.  She was also inspired by Mountain View's hacker dojo, where volunteers use not much money to advance the software state of the art for entertainment value and enlightenment. She set out to do something similar in biotech.

She showed us a picture of the garage she and a friend had made into what would be a million dollar lab if it had been built by Genentech or somebody like that. Instead they invested about $30,000.00 in it. Some of it was salvaged from equipment sales at startup company going out of business sales, other items were house made for nothing.

Eri then talked about some of the more interesting things her team has been working on. Guido made a DNA xeroxer. Somebody else is working on biofuels from algae.  A DNA gel sequencer and open PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tool were also discussed.

Eri finished by explaining that her focus is to develop a community as well as a community lab, which allows people from different backgrounds to collaborate and lowers the barriers to entry to starting a biotech company. Once people have proof of concept and are ready to go for the mass market, they need to go to venture capitalists for that kind of money.  At the moment they have some funding from a seed capital website, and expect to use that over the coming year.

During Q&A the following came up.

They got seed capital from kickstarter. The project can be found at biocurious.org/kickstarter

Do you do anything about the intellectual property rights of your scientists?

BioCurious will ask people to sign membership agreements and liability waivers. They, however, will not take others intellectual property. What you come up with in working with the group is yours. Eri might caution you to not talk about it too much though.

How do you prevent your equipment from being used to do evil?

Eri has thought about that a lot. Generally, she works to build a cooperative open environment where people talk about what they are doing. She is aware that these tools can be used for bad things, but they work to prevent that on an ongoing basis.

To find out more please visit the website at biocurious.org.

If you have further questions Eri can be reached at eri@biocurious.org.

She is also on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/erigentry.

Tian Harter