We seek collaboration: we work better when we work together
We seek inclusivity: our work is better when we draw people together
We seek community: we work better when we consider how we came together
We seek understanding: we work better when we consider why we came together.
We seek knowledge: our work is better when we draw our collective knowledge together
DIY Highly Virulent Pathogens
Background: As the tools and methods of biology become more readily available, the Do-it-yourself (DIY) biology community has come under scrutiny as a potential breeding ground for nefarious uses of biotechnology.
Invasive Population Management
Background: In 2016 the New Zealand government introduced Predator Free 2050, a project to eliminate all non-native predators (such as rats, possums and stoats) by 2050. Non-native predators have been harmful to native flora and fauna of New Zealand, especially conserved bird species.
I am helping organize the Global Community Biosummit at the Media Lab this October 26-28. This conference brings together people involved in the DIYBio/biomakerspace movement together with people from independent and community biology labs. Last year, I attended as a participant from a community lab and this year have a more active role as an organizer.
The three key features of the programming that I feel strongly committed to are the unconference session, the workshops, and the exhibition space. The unconference sessions are informal discussion sessions that are proposed by the convened. The workshops are practical, skills-based sessions where knowledge is disseminated. The exhibition space is available to show works of hardware and art.
My practice as a scientist is deeply connected to the idea of bringing people together to solve problems. As a part of the Sculpting Evolution group, one of our biggest tasks is making science, as a whole, more open and responsive to the communities it affects. For the Biosummit, we are developing an unconference session to talk about the ethics of responsive science in the context of citizen science/DIY spaces. We are also sharing our methods by hosting a Wet Lab workshop on the methods we use to sculpt evolution. Personally, I have been involved in curating and organizing the works that will be displayed in the exhibit space. Interfacing with the community in these ways is how I live within my values.