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Backyard Brains and the L.A. Biohackers are hosting a DIY neuroscience workshop just for you!
Are you interested in how your brain works? How your five senses really sense? Have you ever wondered what the spikes of neurons really look like? Do you like doing experiments? Well, you're in luck! Backyard Brains is collaborating with L.A. Biohackers to conduct a workshop just for you!
The goal is this workshop is to introduce you to nerve physiology, electronics, and help you make a device to study the nervous system. You will measure the electrical signals produced by real nerve cells and muscles, with a device you make yourself. All of the necessary tool for construction will be provided. All participants will receive instruction on soldering, no experience necessary. Everyone will take home a working device. You will leave with our own neuron or muscle amplifier (you choose!).
First, we will provide live demonstrations on the nervous systems of invertebrates... although different from us, they have similar cells in their brains. So you will actually be understanding how your own brain works! We will then guide you through how to build your own SpikerBoxes. Everyone will receive the parts and tools required to build, plus step-by-step instructions on how to solder each component in place.
Finally comes the fun part. Science! We'll go through a whole bunch of fun experiments you can do with your new SpikerBox. We will learn about "Spikes", and "Rate Coding", how temperature affects the neurons, and how electricity can make muscles move!
What? SpikerBox Build-it-yourself workshop and lecture
When? Saturday, Feb 15, 12:00noon - 6:00pm
Where? 1340 E 6th Street, 6th floor, #603, Los Angeles, CA, 90013.
Who? Open to the public. Ages 12y and above, 12y-15y must be accompanied by an adult; All under 18 must submit a parent consent form. 12 openings.
How Much? $99.99 (that's the same price as the SpikerBox itself!
Well, the post-move dust is finally settled and we're just about done cleaning up that dust, so I'd like to announce the Super Official Grand (Re-)Opening of the LA Biohackers Lab. The LAB Lab, if you will.
When: Sunday March 17, 2013 @ 1 PM PST
Where: 1340 E 6th St, #603
Los Angeles, CA 90013
I'd also like to use this as an opportunity to mention that LA Biohackers are the first non-university affiliated educational “franchise” of the Build-A-Genome course created at Johns Hopkins University. This NSF funded project is looking to completely synthesize a significantly redesigned genome of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, more commonly known as brewer's or baker's yeast. Although normally taught to advanced undergraduates and early graduate students, we will be offering the class and the opportunity to directly contribute to a major scientific project along side prestigious universities. Adapting the course to a group that may have minimal existing biology background will be a process, but it's one that I know I am definitely looking forward to.
Further information on the Build-A-Genome course and the Sc2.0 project is available here: http://syntheticyeast.org/
The Genetics article explaining the course: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2621162/
LAB's letter of support from Dr Jef Boeke: http://www.biohackers.la/BuildAGenome.pdf
Whether you've been with us since we started meeting in coffee houses in 2010, you fondly recall our cramped corner lab shenanigans or you're just hearing about us and DIYbio now, come on over and check us out.
As always, the mailing list is https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/la-biohackers
The meetup is http://www.meetup.com/LAbiohackers/
See you then!
First off a big thanks to everyone who contributed to our initial funding drive. You're all awesome!
We are now moved into our new lab nearby the Downtown LA Arts District. We're finishing up the initial post move-in setup and cleaning, but watch this space for official grand re-opening news, and make sure you're on our mailing list to get all the latest info as it happens.
As you may know, our group has been out of action for the better part of this year. We have some big plans (see below) but first we need a space. In order to judge how much monthly income we will have from donations by regular members, we need to get a head count. The two things we need to know are:
(1) Are you able and willing to contribute $50 per month?
(2) Are you able and willing to contribute 3 months ($150) up front? And by up front I mean like tomorrow, or soon thereafter.
So go to the Google form below and let us know:
If you need a little more incentive, once we move in we will be offering a few classes for those wanting to get their feet wet, as well as a synthetic biology class in partnership with Jef Boeke's lab at Johns Hopkins. Please note there may be extra fees for these classes to cover our material costs.
Build-A-Genome - This class at LA Biohackers is a franchise of the Build-A-Genome class at Johns Hopkins. In this class, students of any age or educational background will become familiar with the basic techniques of molecular biology and then embark on their own project to create a 10kb genome fragment which will be submitted to the Sc2.0 Project - a project to engineer a completely synthetic yeast species. Not only will students get their feet wet learning molecular biology, they will have fun working on their own project and also be contributing to a real, cutting edge research project.
The Sc2.0 Project started in Jef Boeke's lab at Johns Hopkins University, funded by the NSF with the goal of designing a new version of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and synthesizing the new genomes from scratch. Aside from being a synthetic organism, the new yeast will have many features which make it more amenable to experiments and engineering. The Build-A-Genome course at Johns Hopkins started in 2007 and offered undergraduates an opportunity to get hands on experience in engineering a synthetic genome. Since then the class has started "franchises" at Loyola University in Baltimore and Tianjin in China. In 2012, the franchise was expanded by the invitation of Jef Boeke to allow for citizen scientists of all educational backgrounds at LA Biohackers to participate as well.
Intro to Molecular Biology - In this course participants will get hands on experience learning the basics of molecular biology. You will learn how to do PCR, restriction digests, ligation, and bacterial transformations. You will splice a gene coding for green fluorescent protein (GFP) into a laboratory strain of E. coli. Using the knowledge and experience from this course you will be able to do your own, more advanced molecular biology experiments.
Personal Genomics - In this hands on course participants will learn the basics of PCR and DNA sequencing. You will extract DNA from a cheek swab and use PCR to amplify a region of interest (either BRCA1, ACTN3 or CCR5) then determine the sequence of that region. Using the sequence, you can determine useful facts about your genetic predisposition to certain conditions.
Plant Transformation - Ever wonder how scientists genetically modify plants for research purposes? Now you can learn in this hands-on class where you introduce a fluorescent gene from a jellyfish. Participants will receive training in the techniques and receive all the plasmids and bacterial strains to do it on their own. The end result is a plant whose plasma membranes fluoresce red.
We are planning to kick off a weekly meetup/tinker night for all the folks interested in neuro. According to the doodle popular vote the neuro meetup will now be at 7:30 WEDNESDAYS, starting with Wed. Sept. 28!!!!
See ya there!
This weekend is labor day so many people may be out of town. But there still seems to be enough people to have a proper meeting, so this Sunday we will be meeting at the regular time at the regular place. 3pm at Null Space Labs.
The Null Space folks are at DEFCON this weekend so NSL is closed. Some of us will be meeting anyways. If you want join us we will be at Lucky Baldwins in Pasadena at the corner of Colorado and Allen.
SB5.0 is going on right now at Stanford, June 15 - 17. Some of us will be there. There is a live video stream here. And if you're into tweeting, you can tweet questions @biobricks. I assume some of the questions will be answered during the Q&A sessions, but who knows. The conference is sold out but you can probably show up unannounced and chill with some bio folks after the talks.
The reguarly scheduled Sunday meetup is cancelled on May 19, 2011. Some people will be out of town for Memorial Day while others will be at the LayerOne security conference. If you're free the wekend of the 28th and 29th and interested in computer security definitely check it out.