seattle science

Support SoundBio Lab for GiveBIG on May 10

GiveBIG is a one-day online fundraiser geared towards investing in the future of Greater Seattle. Join the thousands who will be giving on May 10 and support science and its potential to improve our world by making a gift to SoundBio as part of GiveBIG Seattle. Every tax-deductible gift will be matched dollar-for-dollar, up to $10,000!

Support Soundbio Lab as part of GiveBIG!

SoundBio is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to promoting science education, providing access to biotechnology, and fostering self-learning in order to promote science understanding and inspire the next generation of scientists.

We are a community of amateur and professional science enthusiasts who are devoted to making hands-on science accessible to people of all ages, backgrounds, and experience levels.

Why donations are needed

SoundBio relies on our partnerships, volunteers, and lab guests to sustain our operations, and we rely on donations via efforts like GiveBIG to support the expansion and advancement of our mission and vision. SoundBio offers:

  • Access to our member-run, community lab space in Seattle’s University District

  • Workshops and classes, including a Lab Skills 101 three-course series

  • Hosting to the iTesla-SoundBio iGEM Team, a group of students from several Seattle high schools who are working to eliminate harmful environmental contaminants using synthetic biology

  • Hands-on learning activities at Seattle-area elementary and middle school science nights

  • Exploration of salmon origins and the current environmental state of Pacific Northwest species via the Citizen Salmon project

  • The Bionic Leaf Bioreactor project to address global climate change

How your GiveBIG donation helps

Your gift will support SoundBio's continued efforts to: 

  • Provide workshop materials to hundreds of students in the Seattle area

  • Increase STEM outreach efforts to after-school programs, schools, and other educational institutions

  • Expand our curriculum development, including the creation of DIY science kits for families and schools

  • Provide essential lab equipment and reagents for the iTesla-SoundBio iGEM Team, such as a -80℃ freezer

  • Subsidize hands-on workshops and classes at the SoundBio Lab

  • Provide lab safety equipment and consumables including gloves, tubes, reagents, and pipettes

All gifts will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000, so your donation will have twice the impact. Please help support science education by making a contribution to SoundBio Lab as part of GiveBIG Seattle.


Thank you for your support of science exploration!


Instead of painting eggs, we decided to paint with E.coli. During this event, fellow DIY scientists made living pieces of art using E.coli that had been transformed to express fluorescent proteins. We tried to use five colors with varying levels of success. (Sorry everyone, looks like purple and yellow had some issues. Hopefully next time we can make solid colors.)

Here are the results of everyone's beautiful work. Scroll through and find your favorite. I tried to group the pictures by the artist. Please tell me if I miss a plate!

Bioluminescent Map of Seattle

Painting with Bacteria to Celebrate Seattle

For our launch party held on March 11, 2017, we wanted to celebrate our new space in our amazing city. The week prior, we took a trip to Uwajimaya to find some fresh Pacific fish for sourcing our bioluminescent bacteria that we would use to create a glowing map of the city of Seattle. It was displayed on one of our handmade lab benches and when it got dark enough that evening, we shut off the lights and amazed our guests with a living map! 


Naturally glowing bacteria can easily be found in the ocean. By incubating a marine fish (in our case, Pacific Herring), in a sea water broth, glowing bacteria like Vibrio fischeri can be isolated. These bioluminescent bacteria are “social” organisms and will only glow if there are enough of their “brothers and sisters” around. This regulation of gene expression in response to population density as coordinated behavior is called "quorum sensing", and these bacteria produce and release chemicals that induce the mechanism for creating light. 


The fish were sourced from Uwajimaya (as all good fish are!). We chose pacific herring and rockfish because they were "fresh" (never-frozen) marine fish. (We learned at a later date that the rockfish was sourced from a channel rather than open ocean.) We incubated the fish for 48 hours in sterile sea water bought from a pet store. After incubation, we streaked seawater agar plates from the brightest areas of the fish. Conveniently, V. fischeri grow best around room temperature. To isolate the glowing bacteria, we did 3 rounds of incubating and replating bright colonies. This involved waiting in the dark until our eyes acclimated and circling glowing colonies by marking the backs of petri dishes. We spent a lot of time in the restroom (the only dark place in the lab!).


This was an amazing experience and piece of living art that our SoundBio team and community worked together to make happen. Thanks everyone! 

- Regina Wu