Biology

Bacteriophage T7 Model

As solicited over twitter by TheFrogBlog, I designed a T7 Bacteriophage model for 3D printing via Shapeways. And, here it is: ](/images/Bacteriophage_Model.jpg) Bacteriophage T7 It’s a little fragile at the tips of the legs, so I might increase the size a little to make it more robust. Also, the neck is a little weak where the head joins the body, so I may have to lower the head a little to strengthen that connection.

Dear all, my DIYbio plasmid has arrived

Some time ago I placed an order for a labour of love of mine: IndieBB. It’s a plasmid I designed to make cloning in Bacillus subtilis easier, faster and more reliable. Crucially, it’s also supposed to make the whole process antibiotic-free and DIYbio friendly. It’s going to be the flagship product of Indie Biotech if it works, and if it sells well enough I’m planning to offer additional cassettes that extend and enhance the plasmid, allowing customers to start performing practical synthetic biology with a minimal lab setup requirement.

My DNA Sculpture is now for sale on Shapeways!

Just for love, I designed and printed myself a little sculpture of a DNA double-helix on a small base. It’s going to be my desk ornament in the lab for the next few months while I try to finish my project on time and write a thesis. Of course, nowadays if you’ve made something you’re proud of, it’s a trivial thing to offer it for sale to others with similar nerdy interests!

Isolation and Culture of Bioluminescent Bacteria

Update: Keep your bacteria in the dark. I had been doing this without meaning to, and was confused to hear a fellow microbiologist growing a derivative of my cultures in her lab and getting no glow. When she grew them in the dark, they glowed again! Brief exposures have no effect. It’s the prevailing light conditions that seem to decide whether to stay active. This may be due to the light breaking down the little peptide the bacteria use to detect whether there are enough of them to glow meaningfully, or it might be a deliberate evolutionary adaptation.

Homebrew Bacterial Media for the Microbiology Hobbyist or DIYbio Enthusiast

Update: The links to these files have always been precarious, sorry.. I’ve just re-uploaded the two main files, and soon I’ll be reworking them into my “biohacking protocols” repository on Github in Markdown format with separate images. Enjoy! Life is, as ever these days, quite busy! I have two trips coming up, one to Ignite in Dublin and one to the Newcastle Maker Faire (where Brian Degger of Transitlab.org and I will be hosting a little workshop on a few DIYbio experiments and fun stuff).

Cargo Cults and Electrophoresis

Toward the latter half of WWII, landing strips and airbases were being built all over the Pacific on small, otherwise totally isolated islands. Little contact was made with the natives to explain what was going on, and in some cases the locals were incredulous to see the new arrivals performing strange rituals on their tarmac runways and receiving airdropped “gifts” from the gods/ancestors. When the bases were abandoned, in some cases the locals started replicating the structures and activities of the base personnel, performing marches and drills, talking into replica radios, and waving lit firebrands on the runways and waving them.