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BioCourse autumn 2016

DIYbio Groningen is currently offering the “BioCourse 2016”. Come and learn biology with us, it is fun!

poste BioCourse 2016

The BioCourse is a series of lectures about diverse biology topics:

  • microscopy
  • mealworm
  • DNA
  • … and much more

The course is running from September 2016 until December 2016, you are welcome to join at any time!

For more information check out this link:

https://github.com/DIYbioGroningen/BioCourse

The schedule can be found here:

https://github.com/DIYbioGroningen/BioCourse/blob/master/Rooster.md

~ Autumnal Activities ~

Autumn 2014 has been a very nice period for the DIYbio Groningen community. We ran a number of workshops and we have been carrying out several projects at DJO (de Jonge Onderzoekers, Groningen). One of these is the

Mealworm Project

that we initiated specially for kids and nature lovers who can follow the mealworm life cycle in real-time. The primary goal of the project is to see if we can maintain a colony and harvest mealworms to experiment with entomophagy– a fancy word for bug-eating. The beetles will also be used by two students doing experiments on the learning behaviour of insect as part of their profielwerkstuk. (Think: conditioning with electroshock!) 

combined_mw_

A small mealworm nursery was created together with DJO participants and should do a good job at giving us some hands on experience with these critters. We started out with 1 kg of live mealworms, many have already transformed into pupae and beetles- lets see if we can keep a colony going.

Participants have already done some experiments to see if the bugs are cannibalistic (they are..) and there are some very good ideas as to how to make them taste less bitter.

After some more testing we will release our secret recipe!

Strawberry DNA – Extract it Yourself!

A few weeks ago, we organized another workshop for DJO visitors called ‘Strawberry DNA – Extract it Yourself”. Participants of different ages learned some basics about DNA and they performed simple experiments on the DNA extraction using only some household chemicals. It turned out to be an active and colourful evening.

Strawberry DNA ExtractionIf you would like to extract DNA from strawberries at home, take some salt and soap, mix it with the fresh strawberry juice following this simple protocol and the DNA is all yours! 🙂

World of Technology and Science

Finally, for a whole week at the end of September, DIYbio Groningen participated in the World of Technology and Science exhibition at the jaarbeurs in Utrecht. This exhibition was an opportunity for many companies involved in laboratory hardware, electronics and automation to showcase their products. It was great to see the latest innovation of lab hardware but also fun to explain to people that some of these machines can be built at a tenth of the price.

Together with other Dutch DIYbio groups we presented some examples of open-source laboratory hardware developed by groups from around the world:

World of Technology & Science 2014

Used sources and materials:

http://www.imb.uq.edu.au/download/large/strawberryDNAextraction.pdf

http://www.scientificamerican.com/sciam/cache/file/1F5692BC-66BF-405D-B1502728800D50E5.jpg

 

OpenerPCR circuit board done

A question we encounter frequently is:

When will the PCR machine be finished?

Because we have not built a time-travelling machine (yet), we simply don’t know.

As of yesterday, we do know that the circuit board is done (*)!

Over the last months,  we have changed our approach: instead of using the complex OpenPCR schematics and software, we started over from scratch. Taking a step-by-step approach where we thoroughly understand each step. When returning from the maker faire in Beneden Leeuwen, a new schematic was drawn from scratch and the project was called ‘OpenerPCR’. This week, the OpenerPCR circuit board was etched, soldered, tested, debugged and we got it working:

 

OpenerPcr_1_0_working

One can see the Peltier element (used for heating and cooling) at the bottom left, the relay board (with two LEDs on) at the bottom (used to create an H bridge) and a potentiometer on the right (for regulating the LCD contrast). The thermistor is beyond the edge of the picture. The LCD display shows the text ‘Hello DIYbio’ and the relays are powered, both by the Arduino software.

So, the OpenerPCR circuit board is done (*)!

(*) Let’s assume this, for today