Seattle Science

SoundBio @ MiniMaker Faire Seattle! 9/16-17

SoundBio will be at MiniMaker Faire this weekend!

We're so excited for our first year at the Faire! We have lots of activities planned. Plus we'll be showing off some of the projects we've been working on. Come check out our booth! We'll have bacteria art, 3D printed science tools, and fun activities!

BIOHTP Conference


Thank you to BioHack The Planet for recently having us for their 2017 Conference in Oakland, CA! We had a productive few days of discussion, collaboration and presentation with like-minded biohackers; you can check out a list of all the fantastic speakers here. Watch SoundBio's talk here, and for last year's talk at BioHTP by one of our projects, Citizen Salmon, click here!


Molecular Biologist Toolkit: Restriction Enzymes

A staple in any DIY biologists' toolkit is the restriction enzyme. These nifty proteins can be used to cut DNA at specific sequences of bases producing either blunt or "sticky" ends. When the "sticky ends" are complementary the DNA combines and can result in a new sequence. Knowing how to use restriction enzymes is the first step in synthetic biology.

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During our third and final workshop in the Lab Skills 101 Series, participants utilized techniques gained from the previous two classes and added one more skill to their molecular toolkit. Participates used three common restriction enzymes (EcoRI, BamHI, HindIII)  to cut bacteriophage DNA. To assess if their cuts were successful, we ran gels to see the band patterns. It was really fun to observe positive outcomes with successful digests! 

- Jaylin and Regina


DIY ELECTROPHORESIS (Under $10 a piece!)

Gel electrophoresis, at its most basic components, is a polymer matrix and electricity used to separate molecules by size, shape, and charge. Its a common lab technique and an extremely useful one. For our DIY Electrophoresis system, we used:

  • 5 - 9V batteries ($1 a piece at FamilyTree)
  • 2 - Leads with alligator clips ($7 for 10)
  • Silver wire or 2 paper clips (took from the office)
  • Square petri dish or small rectangular container (forever borrowed from kitchen)
  • <1g - Food-grade agar-agar powder ($7 for much more than you'll need)
  • Tape (took from office)
  • 2 - Popsicle sticks: thin and "normal" ($4+$7)
  • Baking soda (<$1 a box!)

Amazingly, it worked like a charm (if the charm was a dependable electrophoresis system)! So, we invited science-lovers from our MeetUp to take part in a workshop where they made their own DIY electrophoresis systems and used it to separate the dyes found on Skittles.

Thanks to everyone that was able to join us! 

- Regina




We held our first official workshop in the lab following our launch party on March 11th! We had a great turnout and we are pleased to see strong interest come from many different age groups. Our education guru, Regina, talked about the importance of laboratory basics and pipette-handling techniques, and then everyone got to practice and perfect their own skills via fun and engaging activities. Success! Check out more of our classes on our MeetUp page.