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Counter Culture Labs (CCL) is an open biotechnology community that tries to make science easily accessible to the public, which means CCL spends a lot of time on public education and building their networks with other DIY bio groups around the world. Anyone can join CCL and participate in its activities, regardless of their background or knowledge base.
Some of CCL’s fascinating work in citizen science sounds straight out of a science fiction novel! For example, CCL members, with some friends from BioCurious (a similar open biotech organization), recently decellularized a heart, meaning they removed all the cells from the organ. This is the first step in a currently experimental process for manufacturing organs for transplant. Check out a video of the decellularized heart here!
On the tamer side, CCL also helps out with a biweekly DIYBio Coast-to-Coast journal club (facilitated by Derek Jacoby and Nina DiPrimio of Biocurious)– like a book club but with articles from scientific journals instead of the more typical Eat, Pray, Love-type fare. The journal club meetings typically connect half a dozen or more locations using Zoom. To learn more, we spoke with Ben Lack, secretary of the board at CCL, and journal club regular. “Last week I lead a discussion about an article on the efficacy of an anti-HPV drug. We had participants from New York, various parts of the San Francisco Bay Area, and other locations, with everyone from industry professionals to computer hackers to a home-schooling mom,” said Lack.
Lack also shared why Zoom became the trusted journal club platform. “We tried a couple other video conferencing products, but Zoom was the best, hands down. We’re all about education, so we appreciate that we can easily record and post our sessions on the web so anyone can learn from what we discussed.” Lack also discussed the easy start process: “We like that it supports a lot of users signing in seamlessly. It’s so easy. You just send out the link and people click on it. That’s it.”
CCL is looking for new ways to share their knowledge using Zoom. They are trying to put as much science and information as they can on the web. They currently show lab experiments online using a series of pictures, but are considering using Zoom recordings to show a video of these experiments. “Like a cooking show, but for lab experiments,” explained Lack.
We here at Zoom are excited to see how Counter Culture Labs grows and continues to use Zoom in the future.
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