Synthetic biology_2

For second week of class we visited Genspace for an introductory workshop on CRISPR.
It was exciting to see the lab and do some gene tinkering. I was quite amazed when the instructor mentioned that you only need three main things to run a basic biolab, something to mix, something to separate and something to chill! Also it’s a given that you’d need a microscope to marvel at your creations and various other paraphernalia.
I couldn’t help but think of the Indian concept of jugaad being so relevant in this space. I was instantly reminded of this hand-held blood centrifuge designed by Manu Prakash at Stanford. Who also happened to have designed the Foldscope. The readings were a good refresher on some research I was doing on DIY microscopes last semester. I think I even remember seeing someone make a microscope using a drop of water as a lens.

Also can’t help but mention how inspiring was George Church‘s side project on storing digital data in DNA! It is very interesting to marry computer science / information technology and synthetic biology. Could we engineer a computer clock based on cell divisions? or a random number generator based on genetic mutations? what about the eerie similarity between blockchain and DNA?…DNA as currency?



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