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. 

 
 
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BioTECHNOLOGY CRASH COURSE

Three-part course: June 16, 17 and 23 from 2-6pm

This introduction covers the basic techniques that led to the biotech revolution. Learn genetic engineering, gel electrophoresis, and PCR, then explore where biotech is heading in the future.

 
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GENOME EDITING WITH CRISPR-Cas9

Four-part course: June 18,19, 20 and 27, 6:00pm to 10:00pm

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.

 
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bioluminescence: Painting with glowing microbes

Sunday June 24 from 11am-1pm

Introduce microbes to your creative practice! Learn to culture and paint with dinoflagellates and walk away with your own glowing masterpiece.

 
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Visual storytelling lab

Sunday June 24 from 2-5pm

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. 

 
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Solving Cases with genetic traces: a forensics and genomics workshop

Saturday, July 7 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm

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.

 
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Biohacker Bootcamp 

Four-part course: July 9 - 12, 6:00pm to 9:00pm

Join us for this hands-on introduction to the biotech revolution! After learning about the history of biotechnology and the structure of DNA, you'll get a primer on working in the lab. We'll extract our own DNA, analyze ancestry through bioinformatics, splice genes into bacteria, and learn all the standard lab techniques.

 
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SLIME mold workshop 

Sunday August 26 from 11am to 1pm

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.


Previous Classes

 
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Mycoremediation Workshop

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!

 
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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. 

 
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Intro to Mycology and Mushroom Cultivation

Interested in learning how mushrooms can improve your life? Join us for an introductory class on the art and science of mushroom cultivation.  You will walk away with both theory and basic skills for mushroom cultivation and the ability to integrate this knowledge directly into your home, garden, or farm. 

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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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.

 
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neurohacking 101: Brain Networks and Machine Learning

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 and show you how to create your own workflows for manipulation and visualization, including applications for machine learning. 

 
 
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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.

 
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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!

 
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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.

 
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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

 
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Biological Membranes and DIY Soap Making

In this 3-hour course, students will become oriented to the incredible world of the cell membrane as they build physical models of lipid molecules and use 3D modeling software to explore two particularly important membrane proteins. 

In the last hour of the class, we will discuss another aspect of lipids: their use in soap making, and students will then create their own artisan-quality soap to take home!

No experience in biochemistry is necessary and all are welcome!

 
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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

 
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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.

 

 
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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.

 
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KOMBUCHA PAPER WORKSHOP

Students will grow paper from living kombucha culture. This symbiotic culture of yeast and bacteria can be used to make renewable art materials.

 

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.

 

BIOINFORMATICs

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.

 
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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. 

 
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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. 

 
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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.

 

Speculative Biodesign

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.

 

FOOD FUTURES

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

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.

 

DIY Neuroscience

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.

 

SUMMER FERMENTS

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.