At Genspace, our mission is to make biology accessible and exciting to non-scientists and scientists alike. No science background is needed to take our classes and the majority of our participants are new to these subjects. Genspace instructors come from top institutions around New York City to teach advanced biology in an easy-to-understand, hands-on way. Our courses cover biological concepts, lab technique, genomics, synthetic biology, neuroscience, bioart and biodesign, and social implications of emerging biotech.
Bioblitz in Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday April 28, 11am to 12pm
Calling all citizen scientists... join us for a stroll through one of Brooklyn's best-kept secrets, Green-Wood Cemetery! A bioblitz is a communal effort to record as many species within a designated location and time period as possible. We will spend an hour documenting the wildlife found in the cemetery using the iNaturalist app.
Mushroom Walk in Green-Wood Cemetery
Sunday May 5, 11am to 12pm
Genspace's Sunset Park lab is just across the street from Green-Wood Cemetery, a stunning park featuring skyline views of Manhattan and a favorite for the New York Mycological Society. Join us for an all-ages, family-friendly morning walk through the cemetery in search of mushroom specimens. Check out our Mushroom Barcoding Workshop that afternoon where we will learn how to identify them based on their DNA.
Mushroom Barcoding Workshop
Sunday, May 5 from 2:00pm to 6:00pm
Early Bird Pricing: 20% off through April 12!
Using fungal tissue samples from mushrooms gathered during the City Nature Challenge, we will overview and perform DNA extraction, isolation, amplification, verification, and sequencing. We will go over all the steps involved in extracting DNA from our fungal samples, and while our samples are running we will learn how to use bioinformatics to build phylogenetic trees from the samples that we've collected to contribute to online research platforms.
IOT 101: Building an Internet-Connected Lab
May 13, 15 and 17 from 6:00-9:00pm
Early Bird Pricing: 20% off through April 29!
Have you ever wished that your plant could tell you when it wanted to be watered? Or maybe you have a project that you’d like to regularly photograph? Or, perhaps you need a custom incubator for research? These are all potential applications of the 'Internet of Things' (IoT).
IoT is the extension of the internet into everyday objects and devices. This class dives into IoT and 'physical computing' by starting with a practical example–an incubator monitor for the laboratory which can send an alert via email, text message or tweet. We will build this device in class and along the way you'll learn basic concepts in electronics and networking through hands-on activities. IoT 101 will prepare you to research and make an Internet-connected device of your own design using open-source tools, publicly-available resources and example projects.
Designing with Mycelium
Saturday May 18th and May 25, 10am-1pm
Early Bird Pricing: 20% off through May 2
Are you interested in developing sustainable products with cutting edge biomaterials? Mycelium, the roots of fungi, are being used to produce environmentally-friendly versions of packing materials, furniture, leather, and meat. In this two-session workshop, you will learn how to grow mycelium design objects and how to produce your own mycelium material. You will learn everything you need to know to become a mycelial master and to incorporate the process into your own creative practice.
A Scent-imental Journey
Sunday May 19 from 10:00am to 1:00pm
Early Bird Pricing: 20% off through May 2!
In this workshop, we will explore the fascinating world of scent - its deep connection to human psyche and biology and its use in art, commerce and wellness. We will learn about scent families and the basic composition process used in perfumery and aromatherapy. Working with natural essential oils, you will create your own scent formulas and compositions to take home.
Biohacker Boot Camp: Weeknight Edition
May 20-23 from 6:00pm to 9:00pm
Early Bird Pricing: 20% off through May 3!
Join us for this hands-on introductory lab class and discover the foundations of modern biotechnology. After learning about the history of biotechnology and the structure of DNA, we'll get in the lab. Course topics include: polymerase chain reaction (PCR), gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing, bioinformatics, comparative genomics, DNA editing (using restriction enzymes and ligases), uploading DNA circuits (using bacterial transformation and plating techniques), synthetic biology (using modular analysis and design of DNA circuits), Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Bio, and more!
Biohacker boot camp: weekend edition
Three-part course: June 1 and 2 from 2-6pm and June 9 from 10am-2pm
Early Bird Pricing: 20% off through May 3!
Did you know that an entire human genome can be sequenced in less than three days? And that all the cheese that you eat is made with genetically engineered rennet? Biotechnology touches many aspects of our lives, and it is changing with blinding speed. This introductory course covers the basic techniques that facilitated the biotechnology revolution, and will show you where it is headed in the near future.
GENOME EDITING WITH CRISPR-Cas9
Four-part course: June 8 and 9 from 2pm-6pm, 10 from 6pm-10pm and 16, 2pm-6pm
Early Bird Pricing: 20% off through May 3!
CRISPR gene editing has been touted as a game changer in DNA science. Now learn how to do it yourself in this intensive lab class. Recommended for participants who have some lab experience or have taken our introductory courses.
DIY Endocrine Disrupting Compound Detection with Epicurean Endocrinology
Sunday June 23, 2pm to 5 pm
Early Bird Pricing: 20% off through May 6!
Hormones in your food…should you worry? Working with simple DIY tools and protocols, participants will learn to extract and identify estrogenic compounds in liquids ranging from local waterways to common foods. Through this workshop, participants will learn about the complex interrelationships between industrial agriculture and production, food systems, ecosystems, human bodies and the bodies of organisms that live in affected regions. The workshop will illuminate how our bodies are not our own, and whether there is emancipatory potential in subversively using industrial waste products.
Personal Genetics 101: Design Your Own Genetic Test
In this workshop, you’ll get hands-on experience designing and doing your own genetic test. We will discuss the past, present, and future of genetic testing and do a genetic test for the Per3 gene, investigating the relationship of this gene to a preference for morning versus evening activity (Early Bird vs. Night Owl) using PCR and gel electrophoresis. Then, we will use free online tools to design genetic analysis protocols for a trait you’re interested in exploring- along the way you’ll gain experience designing primers, investigating restriction enzymes, and assessing different types of variations associated with different traits.
KOMBUCHA PAPERmaking: Grow your own paper
Kombucha—for centuries it’s been brewed as a tangy beverage made of tea and a symbiotic glob of bacteria and yeast known as SCOBY. In this bioart papermaking course you will explore a new way to utilize kombucha. It is not only a great source of probiotics—it can also grow a renewable art material!
dyeing and painting with nature: The chemistry of cochineal
Join Genspace for a hands-on exploration of natural colorants where we will focus on the tiny but powerfully-colorful cochineal bugs. We will look at the fascinating history of cochineal use and the chemistry behind transforming organic matter into usable color, learning about the relationship (and differences) between dyes and pigments, and how you can make them in the lab- or at home in your kitchen. Following 500-year-old recipes and using modern chemistry, we will learn three different methods for extracting the cochineal color. We will dye textiles and make pigments with bugs, and each participant will walk away with a tube of lab-made paint!
Backyard Biodiversity: iNaturalist and Biocubes for Citizen Science Studies
The Backyard Biodiversity Workshop will consist of two parts: learning how to use the free app iNaturalist, to make high-quality ecological observations of organisms you find in your favorite environment; and building your own Biocube, a fun, informative, and manageable way of exploring the biodiversity in the world around you by focusing on a cubic foot of space. By looking closely and documenting the life in a small area, you can get a better understanding of how different ecosystems are structured, how they function, and how they change.
neurohacking 101: analyzing and visualizing brain networks
Learn some of the basic techniques used in the cleaning and analysis of fMRI data. We will study brain networks using open source Python tools, pull brain data from servers, and show you how to create your own workflows for manipulation and visualization!
Biomimicry in the field: learning from nature’s genius
Ever wonder what makes a peacock’s feathers so vibrant? Or how ants can communicate along complex scent trails to find and distribute food? How do honeybees use swarm logic to regulate the internal hive temperature? And why do trees and other plants grow in a similar and repeating patterns?
These questions encompass the underlying inquiry and ethos of biomimicry, looking to nature’s time-tested patterns and strategies to help solve our human challenges. Join us for a 2-day interactive workshop where you will learn not about, but from nature with a new lens of discovery. On day 1 we will examine the fundamentals of biomimicry by looking at nature’s form, function and ecosystems and on day 2 we’ll meet at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden for an immersive field experience.
How to run automated experiments with opentrons
Never used a liquid handling robot before, but tired of pipetting for up to an hour or more at a time? In this 6-hour class, you will learn how to set-up and run the Opentrons pipetting robot, write Python programming scripts for the robot, and share protocols with the worldwide Opentrons community.
Swabbing Cheek to Cheek: Inside Personal Genetic Testing for Romance
In this hands-on workshop, you’ll do your own genetic test for one of the commonly analyzed “love” genes, discuss the science and hype around this type of genetic testing, and consider the ethical and social issues of DNA-based matchmaking services.
intro to plant genetics: from genotype to phenotype
In this class we will use mustard plants to explore how changes in the sequence of DNA can lead to changes in proteins and physical characteristics. You will use DNA purification, polymerase chain reaction, DNA sequencing and bioinformatics to compare two plants with different genes and learn about how cells use the information in our genes to specify physical traits.
SLIME mold workshop
Draw with slime mold! In this workshop we will design the growth and shape of slime mold. Participants will learn about the biology of this fascinating organism and explore its use for BioArt. We will create a maze in a Petri dish and watch how the slime mold finds the most efficient path to food.
intro to bioplastics
Join Genspace for a hands-on foray into the world of bioplastics- plastics made from renewable biomass sources. In this workshop, we will discuss the history, challenges, and future of plastic, and we will experiment with a variety of DIY bioplastic recipes. You will learn about the criteria people in industry use to measure the health and toxicity of their products, the initial processes used in the material sciences, and ways to get started in your own kitchen. Each participant will make a mold and go home with their own plastic item that is edible and will easily biodegrade.
Bioinformatics: using r to find genes for disease
How do we find genes that have a true statistical significance and a biological relevance? This two day course will highlight methods of finding genes involved in a disease using statistical methods, visualizations, and biological networks. We will highlight how to use the free statistical package R on the first day and then work through a biological data set on the second day.
fats, oils, soap making and the science of cleaning
How is it that soap cleans? In this 3 hour class, we will discuss the chemistry of soap, detergents, and dry cleaning. We will use interactive molecular building exercises and 3D computer modeling to get a feel for how lipid molecules bond and flex and we will learn how specific lipids are relevant to diet and health. The class will culminate in a soap making lab where we create a batch of artisan quality bar soap that can be used at home.
Coloring Textiles with Bugs: Old [Cochineal] and New [Bacteria]
In this hands-on workshop, you will learn both the history and the science of coloring textiles with organisms using historical techniques and new scientific developments. Explore the long tradition of dyeing cloth brilliant shades of red with cochineal insects. Then, discover new cutting-edge techniques of printing textiles with colorful microbes. We will delve into the world of sustainable natural dyes and create artful textile collages.
bioluminescence: Painting with glowing microbes
Introduce microbes to your creative practice! Learn to culture and paint with dinoflagellates and walk away with your own glowing masterpiece.
Learn about the theory and practice of using fungi to improve the quality of degraded environments in this mycoremediation workshop. The knowledge learned here can be applied to restoring degraded soil, breaking down chemical contaminants, filtering water pollutants, and more. Participants will leave the workshop with an understanding of the current state of knowledge of mycoremediation, tools to begin implementing their own mycoremediation experiments, guidance about promising future directions in the field, and much more!
Make Your Own Ghost Heart
Join Genspace for a two-day, hands-on tissue engineering workshop to create “ghost heart”. We will be using decellularization, a tissue engineering technique that strips all of the cells from a donor organ leaving behind nothing but a scaffold of connective tissue called a “ghost organ,” named for its pale and ghostly appearance. You will have a chance to handle a real heart and learn how it works!
Intro to Mycology
Fungi are the keystone species that interconnect every facet of life in our world. This class will highlight the supreme influence these ancient and often overlooked organisms have upon our health, society, and environment and also provide a succinct peek into the Fungal Queendom from the perspectives of ecology, anthropology, pharmacology, and bioremediation.
The Artistic World of Histology
In this workshop, participants will explore the structure and functions of cells and their affiliated tissues. Students will get a chance to prepare their own wet mount slides for view under the microscope.
Solving Cases with genetic traces: a forensics and genomics workshop
While reading the first human genome cost $3 billion and took 13 years to complete in 2003, today, that same genome can now be genotyped for $99 and can be given as a Christmas present to connect to long-lost family members. The wide adoption of genomics is not without ethical challenges, tensions between scientific progress, individual privacy, and the potential for group-based discrimination. Join Dr. Sophie Zaaijer and Dr. Kadija Ferryman for a workshop exploring the promises, challenges, and perils as genomics becomes a part of everyday life.
RNA Evolution: From Primordial Life to Masterminds of Gene Expression
From dark matter of genomes to primordial life on earth, RNA is no longer the simple messenger to the genetic code. In this course, students will discover the vast and intricate world of RNA biology. Learn how to extract RNA from mouse organs and use reverse-transcriptase PCR to visualize how RNA can determine cellular diversity beyond the genetic blueprint.
Visual storytelling lab
In popular culture, science is often associated with long equations and technical diagrams. However, throughout history, illustration and storytelling have played a central role in the popularization of science and scientific progress itself.
Through a mix of drawing activities and laboratory experimentation, this workshop investigates the potential of comics as a format for science communication.
Biodesign: Grow Your Own Mycelium Lamp
Come explore mycelium with us as we learn about its many functions and characteristics, and find out how “nature’s glue” is being bio-utilized in many applications across industries as humans seek out more sustainable production processes. Get ready to get your hands dirty, literally, when we walk you through the process of growing your own lampshade using mycelium.
Plant adaptation to a changing climate
In this workshop, we will cover the basics of global climate change, how certain plants are able to acclimate or adapt to changing climates, and the plant traits that are becoming increasingly important to climate change adaptation. This class is a perfect introduction to anyone interested in climate change ecology, plant adaptation, or the link between genes and traits.
Programming with DNA in a test tube
In this workshop, you’ll take first steps in cell-free synthetic biology by designing and programming a sensing circuit with DNA, adding it to a a cell-free extract where it will be expressed as a visible protein, and measuring the results.
DIY Neuroscience: Mind Reading 101
In this two-part class, you will learn how to use an electroencephalogram (EEG) to collect the ongoing waves of electrical activity in your own brain. Then, you will learn how to interpret this activity and use it to control things in the world. We will conclude with a discussion about the use of such technologies in law and society more generally
Painting with Microbes: ASM Agar Art Contest
Join Genspace for a hands-on activity where you'll learn how microbes can be engineered to produce eye-pleasing images and novel materials. Genspace will provide colorful or fluorescent microbes that you can paint on your own agar 'canvas'!
This event was part of the American Society for Microbiology Agar Art contest, and all participants were invited to enter their microbial art for the chance to win a prize! To learn more, you can visit www.asm.org/agarart
Biotextiles: Grow your own materials for fashion design
In this two-part introduction to biotextiles, you’ll learn how to grow fabrics from microbes and then use natural and bioengineered bacteria to dye them.
Protein World: Biology's Unsung Hero
DNA may get the all glory, but proteins are the workhorses of the body. Take a deep dive into the wonderfully intricate and dynamic world of proteins! Students will model protein structures as well as take part in a protein extraction.
2D DIY Bioprinting: Hacking Your Home Printer
Learn the basics of bioprinting in this hands on class. Participants will assemble and program an InkShield home printer with Arduino to print e.coli with a fluorescent protein.
DIYbio Incubator: Build Your Own Incubator
Participants will learn how to build a low-cost incubator including basic electronics and Arduino programming. We will also use our newly constructed DIY incubator to run an experiment.
Want to find out what bacteria are living around you? In this workshop we will learn the methods for identifying microbial species with DNA sequencing data, and understand what their functions are and how that can inform decisions or urban design.
BIOTECHNOLOGY THROUGH SCIENCE FICTION
Science fiction gives us an opportunity to speculate on how today’s technologies will reshape tomorrow. This course explores the potential social impacts of biotech through videos, film, art and literature.
Synthetic Biology: Learn to Program Life
In this workshop, you will learn the fundamentals of synthetic biology in a hands-on way. This workshop complements a panel discussion taking place at Data & Society on March 16th entitled Synthetic Biology—Programming with DNA.
FERMENTATION: Making kefir
Fermentation is one of the oldest food processing methods used today. Scientifically known as zymology, it is the conversion of carbohydrates into alcohols, carbon dioxide, using yeast, or bacteria. Learn to make kefir using milk and milk alternatives.
The Chemistry of Lotions and Creams: DIY Beauty Products
In this hands-on workshop, participants will learn about the chemistry behind the ingredients in lotions and creams, as well as the physical processes required to create these products.
family science lab
Anyone can be a researcher, no matter their age. Children (ages 6-12) and grown-up pairs will get hands on experience in a biotech lab, extracting their own DNA and exploring its molecular structure in our Family Science Laboratory.
Consumer Empowerment: What DNA Reveals About Your Food
What's in your food? Find out in this hands-on lab class. You will learn how to extract DNA from food using techniques such as DNA barcoding and PCR to determine if that goat cheese is really from goats, what’s really in a Filet-O-Fish, and if that granola you had for breakfast is really non-GMO.
Beer Brewing 101: Homebrewing Essentials
You will learn all the basics to get you up and running while brewing a batch of beer. You’ll learn about extract brewing, malts, grains, yeasts and how to avoid or troubleshoot the most common problems.
Plant Based Pigments: Dyeing with Indigo
In this hands-on class we will explore one of the most iconic natural dyes – Indigofera tinctoria, commonly known as indigo. Participants will learn how to create a fermented indigo vat, and walk away with their own hand dyed fabric samples.
In this course we will imagine speculative design outcomes using biotechnology. We will work hands-on in the lab to grow material samples and imagine how the materials might be used in the future. We’ll learn to use design as a medium for experimentation to stimulate critical discussion on the social and cultural implications of current and emerging biotechnologies.
In this class we will look at ecosystems, speculative design, and biotechnologies related to agriculture. Participants will design a projects that incorporate elements of contemporary technologies and centuries old practices of biodiversity and permaculture.
DNA origami consists in "knitting" shapes with DNA strands. In this class we will learn about the applications of this technology, and how to use CAD (computer-aided-design) programs to design DNA origami shapes on the nanoscale.
In this course, participants will measure neuron firing in cockroaches and crickets, conducting experiments with music and mind altering chemicals to see how neurons fire firsthand.
Local color: extracting pigment from plants
This hands-on class will examine local color- how to grow it, find it, and extract it. We will create natural dyes from food waste and locally foraged plants.
PRIVACY IN THE ERA OF PERSONAL GENOMICS
In less than a decade, the practice of genomics has become ubiquitous, and the data sets enormous. Its wide adoption comes barbed with ethical challenges, tensions between scientific progress and individual privacy, and a heritage based in racial discrimination.
Non-Toxic B/W Film Processing Using Coffee and Beer
Process your own film using beer and instant coffee crystals with MONO NO AWARE. In this one-day workshop, participants will be given all of the information necessary to mix their own negative processing chemistry using a combination of consumable items from the grocery store.
BIOART MASTER CLASS
In this three part bioart survey the lab is the new artist studio, and the petri dish the new canvas. Participants will break down barriers between biology, art, and design — exploring new ways to work with and grow microbes, slime mold and bioluminescent organisms as a part of the artist's creative practice.
Smell, taste, discuss and make a few simple seasonal ferments. In this workshop we’ll explore and craft two delicious types of vegetable ferments that are easily made at home without any special ingredients or equipment.
Fungi Fabrication: Mycelium Materials
In this course we will work with mycelium as material for experimental design applications. Working hands-on in the lab, participants will grow a variety of samples with mycelium ranging from biodegradable ‘styrofoams’ to leather-like textile alternatives.
SLime Mold workshop
Long classified as Fungi, slime "molds" are now known to be a creature all their own. In this 2 hour workshop participants will explore slime mold—how to grow it and how to use it for bioart.