Bio Lab of the Future

Jimmy Day

Joseph M. Jacobson, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences
David S. Kong, Director, Community Biotechnology Initiative; Research Scientist
Tuesdays 1PM-3PM


As the scope and impact of the biotechnology revolution accelerates, the associated systems of knowledge production and innovation are similarly evolving. In this course, we will explore the evolution of the biology laboratory, from centralized foundries to low-cost distributed labs, labs-on-a-chip, cloud labs, augmented laboratories, and community-driven, Do-It-Yourself (or Together) laboratories. We will also explore the application of open-source principles for shareable biotechnology.

Finally, while OpenCourseWare has scaled exponentially to bring top-tier education to millions of students globally, the associated growth of hands-on, laboratory work has been limited. With education and innovation in mind, students will work in groups to envision, design, and prototype their own "Bio Lab of the Future."


33% class attendance and participation

33% homework and lab modules

33% final project

Class Size

No more than 25 participants.


Permission of the Instructor.

Please submit a short statement of interest and a bio acquainting us with you and your relevant background by Tuesday, February 6,  2018 to


02/06 Class 01 --Introduction & Bio Foundries

Guest speakers: Barry Canton (Ginkgo Bioworks)

Recitation: 3D Design

02/13 Class 02 --Desktop Labs

Guest speakers: Julie Legault (Amino Labs), Orkan Telhan (Biorealize), Bethan Wolfenden (Bento Labs)

Recitation: 3D Printing

02/20 Class 03 --Lab-on-a-Chip

Guest speakers: Todd Thorsen (MIT Lincoln Lab), Udayan Umpathi (MIT)

Recitation: Microfluidic Mask Design

02/27 Class 04 --Low-Cost Labs

Guest speakers: Manu Prakash (Stanford)

Recitation: Microfluidic Soft Lithography

03/06 Class 05 --Protocols & Automation

Guest speakers: Sean Ward (Synthace), Kristen Ellis (OpenTrons)

Recitation: Laser Fabrication

03/13 Class 06 --Cloud Labs

Guest speakers: Brian Frezza, DJ Kleinbaum (Emerald Cloud Lab), Dhash Shrivathsa (Phloem)

Recitation: Protocol Abstraction 01

03/20 Class 07 --Augmented Labs

Guest speakers: Charles Fracchia (BioBright), Canan Dagdeviren (MIT)

Recitation: Running Protocols on Dropl


04/03 Class 08 --Open-Source Labs

Guest speakers: Drew Endy (Stanford, BioBricks Foundation), Jenny Molloy (Open Plant, Gathering of Open Science Hardware)

Recitation: Protocol Abstraction 02

04/10 Class 09 --Community Bio Labs

Guest speakers: Dan Grushkin, (Genspace, co-founder) and Maria Chavez (BioCurious, co-founder)

Running Protocols on OpenTrons


04/24 Class 10 --Labs for Art, Design, & Speculation

Guest speakers: Neri Oxman (MIT)

05/01 Class 11 --Industry Day

Guest speakers: Magdalenda Schoeneich (Takeda)

05/08 Class 12 --The Cell is the Lab

Guest speakers: Kate Adamala (U Minnesota), Ally Huang (MIT), Peter Carr (MIT Lincoln Lab)

05/15 Class 13 --Final Presentations

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