Still on the east coast of the United States, our tour leads us to the mythical Genspace, one of the first biohackerspaces, located in New York City. There we met with Greg Gage who gives everyone the opportunities to put his hands on neuroscience thanks to his great company Backyard Brains.
Could you introduce yourself?
I am Greg Gage, and I am a “DIY Neuroscientist”. I started a company with my lab mate Tim Marzullo to take the tools and equipment we used in the research lab and make them accessible to anyone interested in the brain. I have a PhD in biomedical engineering, and have spent my days in grad school in a neuroscience (biopsychology) lab recording from the striatum of rats.
What does biohacking represent for you?
I had to go to graduate school to learn about the brain. 20% of the world has a neurological disorder, and there are no known cures. It doesn’t seem right that only a small percentage of the population is studying the brain. By opening up the field to anyone interested, we hope to encourage more experiments that can help move the field forward.
What do you expect from a biohackerspace?
Our projects are highly collaborative. We have skill sets in macro-science experiments, and can develop electrical, mechanical, and software; but we need expertise of others to push our experiments further. For example using green fluorescent proteins (GFP) to identify pathways, or Channelrhodopsin (ChR2) for controlling specific neurons in fruit flies… We work with others in biohackerspaces to help us develop better experiments, that allow us to probe deeper questions about the brain.
>> Picture: Dailylaurel (CC)