DIY bio

Gene and Tonic: Five Reasons Your Glowing Plants Haven't Arrived Yet

Journalist Antonio Regalado over at MIT Tech Review Raised a stink this past week about the failure of The Glowing Plant project. We wanted to share a few of the additional rumors we’ve heard about why the plants won’t glow.

1. Elizabeth Holmes was the lead advisor.

2. The project has been put on hold while the organizers are in M & A talks with Monsanto.

John Cumbers Previews SynBioBeta 2013


John Cumbers, PhD, Synthetic Biologist, NASA Ames

Bio and Contact Info

Listen (4:03) Synbio in UK

Listen (1:45) Intrexon IPO and consumer space

Listen (5:30) Crowdfunding and its discontent

Listen (2:39) GMO OMG

Listen (4:52) Trouble in the DIY space?

Listen (3:21) Resveratrol yogurt

Listen (4:06) Highlights of upcoming SynBioBeta conference

Joining us to kick off a new SynBio Series is John Cumbers, founder of SynBioBeta. Cumbers and his team puts on the annual conference for the synthetic biology community in San Francisco each year. The next one is scheduled for Nov 15, 2013. In today's show, John previews the upcoming conference and reviews some of the events of the past year: the Intrexon IPO, the crowdfunded Glowing Plants Project, and other happenings in this exciting space.

Podcast brought to you by: Chempetitive Group - "We love science. We love marketing. We love the idea of combining the two to make great things happen for your marketing communications."

Life Scientist Goes Indie

Guest: Ethan Perlstein, Independent Scientist

Bio and Contact Info

Chapters (Move marker to advance)

0:55 A declaration of independence

8:14 Setting up an indie lab to do evolutionary pharmacology

19:07 What are you doing for funding?

28:21 Darwin would be tweeting beak sizes

Ethan Perlstein has a message for his fellow scientists: declare independence. Giving up for now on the traditional career path of seeking positions at research institutions around the country, Ethan has gone rogue. What does this mean? How does one become independent? And the $64 million question: how does an independent scientist get funding? These are the questions this young scientist tackles in his own "declaration of independence."

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Indie science

Transitioning to scientific independence from the tribal world of government-sponsored biomedical research is not easy. The stars have to align in your personal life. For example, having a supportive spouse who will quit their job and move across the country with you. Alas, searing curiosity alone cannot pay the bills. You’ll need a day job, or better yet a complementary, part-time consulting gig that leaves you enough time to do professional-grade science. Even after all that, you’ll still need a place to do the experiments – and of course a way to pay for it.

Kickstarting Synbio with Antony Evans

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Antony Evans, Project Manager, Glowing Plants Bio and Contact Info

Listen (6:07) Glowing plants produced before

Listen (5:45) Goals of the project

Listen (9:01) Biggest hurdles on ethical and policy front

Listen (2:27) Democratizing synthetic biology

There’s a new synthetic biology project attracting a lot of attention over at kickstarter. With the title: Glowing Plants: Natural Lighting with no Electricity, the project has already over 5,000 backers and has raised over $300,000. Will this be a great way to introduce synthetic biology to the larger public and inspire others to do similar projects? Here to talk about the goal and details of Glowing Plants is project leader, Antony Evans.

Access Is a Right: Open Science Summit 2011

This last weekend “open science” evangelist Joseph Jackson and his colleagues put on the 2nd annual Open Science Summit (we were a media sponsor). The conference was held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California. Midway through the first day, a small unmanned robot appeared at the door. The little fellow stopped, looked around, then proceeded directly toward the stage forcing Mr. Jackson to pick up the pesky bugger and take him out of the room.