Carlsbad, CA is soon to be home to San Diego’s own community laboratory space. Much along the lines of Genspace in NYC and BioCurious in Sunnyvale, CA, the laboratory will be open to the public and feature equipment not available to amateur scientists. Assay Depot CEO, Kevin Lustig, started on this initiative after working first-hand with the Genspace and BioCurious laboratories in Assay Depot’s Open Science Challenges. Amateur science communities are budding up worldwide with the aid of the internet and community lab space is the next evolution of that collaboration.
The laboratory, tentatively named DIYBio San Diego, hopes to attract citizen scientists experimenting “because they like pursuing knowledge for its own sake” and professionals that “can use the space to pursue their ideas.”1 The city of Carlsbad is donating office space and Kevin is providing Assay Depot’s old laboratory equipment to provide basic infrastructure of the laboratory. The rest of money is hoped to come from the vibrant local San Diego biotech community. With the recent influx of pharma investment toward a more open science type of research, there should be ample support for the initiative.
DIY labs have recently made great strides and provide access to state of the art tools. BioCurious recently has undertaken the task of trying to assemble a 3-D bioprinter, which would allow printing of tissue and “literally build living structures, like blood vessels or skin tissue, cell by cell.”2 The project not only would provide a valuable resource usually open only to top end research laboratories, but provide its own experience and lessons just trying to build it with low-cost items.
The Carlsbad laboratory is the start of exciting new open science projects like the 3-D printer. The space is expected to open up in the next few months, so keep an eye and get involved! For those interested in working with the lab (or in the lab!), feel free to contact Assay Depot at firstname.lastname@example.org any time.
If you’d like to learn more about Open Science and Assay Depot’s involvement in the community, read our article on Opening up the “Open Science Challenge”.