DIYBioBA – Biohacking Buenos Aires is a movement of citizen science in order to create access to biology and biotechnolgía to ordinary people, with or without academic traditionales and outside areas such as universities and training companies . The idea is to create " garage laboratories " inspired by the maker spaces where neighbors , youth, artists , entrepreneurs, the cashier at the supermarket, opposite the abu , scientists, bioethicists, etc.
Me: Tell me about yourself, the team you worked with to build Biohacking Buenos Aires and why did you build them?
Apfel: I came to Buenos Aires last year and was wondering if there was a biohacking group, because I was member before in DIYbio Barcelona. I meet interested people and we found this group. Argentina has a native DIY mentality and I believe it will surprise the world soon!
Me: How did you find the space and funding?
Apfel: We don't have a physical space yet but we do have continuous meetings with presentations and projects.
Me: Was building the community hard? Who is/was part of the community?
Apfel: No, there is enormous potential and enthusiasm in Buenos Aires! There are people with all kind of backgrounds: synthetic biology, virology, genetics, neurology, bioart, computer science, physics etc. See a member list on our website.
Me: What types of equipment did you find you needed and what were the challenges you encountered?
Apfel: We build an incubator with Arduino! This was more to have nice chats and drink mate on a sunday afternoon. Let's say it was a symbolic incubator to get us warm.
Me: What types of projects have you and the biohacking team worked on?
Apfel: For now I guess the group has more the function as a meeting place for socializing, making contacts, brainstorming and building a community. We are still at the very beginning but I'm sure great projects will arise! We had wonderful presentations: Manuel Giminez talked about synthetic biology, Mat Falkowski presented IndieBio, Camila Petignat gave us insight into entrepreneurships in Chile and Southamerica and Emiliano Gentile gave us a good understanding of the central dogma and virology. I'm working currently as a voluntary for a neurogenetics research group in bioinformatics on exome analysis that I found via the group.
Me: What do you see as the future for biohacking in Argentina and globally?
Apfel: I (dream to) see it as a scientific institution coequal or even outperforming universities! Universities run the risk to become stiff, bureaucratic, old-school, closeminded, centralized, elite structures that lack flexibility and interdisciplinary to keep pace with technological evolution. We need to capture the vastly underestimated scientific potential of people who do not enter the acaddemic world for any reason like drop-outs, autodidacts, hikikomoris, ghetto kids, people who cannot afford university, lateral entrants and all kind of citizens like the sweet granny from next door. Society wastes half of its creative potential in front of TV.