HiveBio Discussion: What’s politics got to do with it?

Looking for a distraction from the 3rd presidential debate? Can’t wait to escape this never-ending election? HiveBio is going after the third rail in our monthly discussion series by bringing up politics and asking one important question- how does policy influence the maker movement?

Join us at Ada’s Technical Books this Wednesday, Oct 19th at 730 PM for an important discussion of how White House and governmental policy helps shape the state of DIYbio in the United States. We’ll cover the current Nation of Makers initiative and brainstorm how we might be able to improve the regulation and encouragement of garage biology.





HiveBio a hit at Seattle Mini Maker Faire

Last weekend, an expected 6000 makers, crafters, DIYenthusiasts, and tinkerers gathered for an event billed “the greatest show (and tell) on Earth” the 5th Seattle Mini MakerFaire (SMMF).



The Seattle Mini Maker Faire is a smaller independently organized version of the official Maker Faire put on by Make magazine and first held in San Mateo, CA in 2005. Full-scale Maker Faires are now hosted annually in 23 cities across the world, including the flagship World Maker Faire in New York City, which sees nearly 100,000 attendees. Seattle represents one of over 120 cities to host an independently run Mini Maker Faire.


HiveBio brought a splash of DIY-biology to the 2016 Faire, just as it has done every year since the start of the SMMF in 2011. Faire-goers learned some easy laboratory techniques as they performed their own strawberry DNA extraction, mashing up fruit and adding household detergent and salt to separate the goopy genetic material from the rest of the plant (strawberries are especially good subjects for this experiment as they are octoploid – they have 8 copies of chromosomes – making their DNA plentiful).


Visitors to the HiveBio booth were also able to dive into the world of the invisible, building their own microscope using simple wooden pieces, screws, and a smartphone. The table provided several types of cells from onion to algae for curious minds to investigate under the magnification of their own cell phones. Both of these activities were available for purchase as take-home kits, and are also commonly taught at HiveBio as classes for the broader public.

Highlights of this year’s SMMF included the booths hosted by maker spaces like the SoDo Makerspace or the Pratt Arts center, educational stations like the paper-rocket station by Pacific Science Center’s Tinker Tank, a plethora of 3D printer ventures, professional and industrial representatives, and art- and robotics-based DIY projects. More novel displays included the Walking Beast, an 11-foot tall, seven-ton mechanical robot which also shoots fire; several Daleks and a home-made K9 unit, paying homage to cult favorite Dr. Who; and the 3D Selfie Mobile Maker Space, which translates images of Faire-goers to a 3D-printed bust of their likeness. Overall, 108 groups represented their projects, products, or science at the 2016 Seattle Mini Maker Faire.


The Seattle Mini Maker Faire takes place in September every year at the Experience Music Project Museum at Seattle Center. More information is available at the Seattle Mini Maker Faire website. 

Collaboration Equals Innovation: Reflections on the White House Nation of Makers Meeting

Recently, HiveBio Community Lab was invited by Andrew Coy, White House Senior Policy Advisor on Making, to join almost 200 other Makerspaces from across the country at the White House for the Nation of Makers meeting. Though the time to prepare was short, HiveBio was able to run a successful GoFundMe campaign to raise the funds for the travel. As I boarded the plane to Washington D.C., I had butterflies in my stomach. While I was excited and honored that HiveBio was asked to join this amazing event, I have to say I didn’t know quite what to expect when I got there.

The actual time in DC was a whirlwind of activity. The Nation of Makers meeting fell on a Wednesday, so most of the Makerspace founders were only able to stay in DC for a short time. Fly in the day before, attend the NoM meeting, fly out the next day. Of course, it was a gathering of natural born organizers, so a NoM Facebook group was created immediately with a flurry of invitations: dinner the night before, dinner the day of, breakfast the day after. I arrived in DC late in the afternoon and rushed to attend the dinner that night, excited to meet my fellow Makerspace founders from all over the U.S.

Now, I’ll have to admit, part of me was wondering what would happen when we all got together. Makerspace founders are used to be being leaders. We have strong personalities, big ideas, and the drive to make them happen. Would a group of leaders compete with one another, or work comfortably as peers? This question was answered immediately upon arriving to the dinner. Everyone was excited, eager to meet one another, eager to start working together. I was overwhelmed by the intense sense of comradery in that space. During the dinner, 60 plus Makerspace founders shared stories and gave advice to one another. Many founders were handing out free swag, stickers and keychains and t-shirts. We laughed about how our bike helmets and computers would be completely covered in logos of fellow Makerspaces. Every single person there was eager to share tips and support one another. This is the heart of Makerspaces: inherently collaborative culture.

The Nation of Makers meeting extended this feeling of collaboration, not only between Makerspaces, but between us and the US government as well. Each presentation by White House officials (See our previous post on the NoM meeting for a list of some speakers) was centered on the idea of collaboration between Makerspaces and the White House. There was much talk of one of the main concepts of Maker culture: collaboration creates innovation. Working together, we can come up with insights and ideas that may never be discovered working alone, or while competing against one another.

This concept was best displayed at the afternoon breakout sessions. Each hour there were 4 sessions offered with topics such as Connecting with Nation Laboratories, Making the World a Better Place through Citizen Science and Open Innovation, Building Entrepreneurial Ecosystems,and Equity by Design for Intentional Inclusion. Each session was made up of a group of Makerspace founders and government officials working together to discuss these topics, identify hurdles, and innovate possible solutions. Between the breakout sessions the White House walls were full of smiling Makers. This kind of collaborative innovation was exactly what we foster in our Makerspaces, and to see it happening at this scale, and at the White House, was amazing.

After the Nation of Makers meeting was over, we strove to keep this collaboration going. The majority of the Makerspace founders gathered at a local pub and spent the evening eating, drinking, and making plans for the future. Together, we discussed ways to formalize NoM communications so that we could all stay in touch. Plans for future regional conferences were made. People agreed to form committees to handle responsibilities for making certain things happen. I’ve never exchanged so many business cards in my life.

Since the Nation of Makers meeting, this collaboration and innovation has continued. The Facebook group is a constant hive of activity, Slack channels were created to carry this task or that task, regional email lists are buzzing with communication. Every day I wake up to notifications from fellow Makerspace founders from all over the country and am completely blown away by how seamlessly we are all working together to create this national movement and help it thrive. New Makerspaces are being added to the groups every day and we continue to communicate with Andrew Coy to help this movement grow.

While I was in DC I was able to spend some time with the founders of two California DIYbio Makerspaces, Eric Harness (BioCurious) and Patrick D’haeseleer (Counter Culture Labs). Their DIYbio Makerspaces are an amazing model for collaboration. Being located very close to one another, they share resources, have common members, and are even members of one another’s organizations. Working together, they are able to provide their local community an abundance of access to DIYbio.

After I got back from the White House, several people asked me what my biggest take-away was from the event. I can say without any doubt: collaboration is one of the most important gifts that the Maker movement has to offer. Here are hundreds of founders of similar organizations, many cities having more than one, and instead of competing we are working together. Corporate culture teaches people to “crush the competition” and espouses a culture of scarcity. Corporate culture encourages companies to use their resources to drive similar businesses out of a given area so that consumers can be dominated by one company. Maker culture teaches us the opposite. Maker culture encourages communities to grow and share and work together to create something greater than the sum of it’s parts. If we collaborate and innovate together, we can create a culture of abundance.

Visit Nation of Makers to learn more, and join the revolution!

A multitude of Makerspace Founders!

A multitude of Makerspace Founders!

Nation of Makers meeting media coverage:

Makerspace Organizers Convene at the White House (Make Magazine)

Building a Nation of Makers (The Huffington Post)

Organizing a Nation of Makers Is Hard But Worth It (Make Magazine)

Maker Organizers Meeting (Collab)

Familab Goes to the White House (Familab)

5 Key Lessons I Learned at the Makerspace Organizers Meeting (Annette Wong)

Reflections on White House Nation of Makers Event (NYC Resistor)

HiveBio Discussion: Microfluidics


In the cleanest labs with the best technology, laser-cut channels thousandths of an inch thin are burned into glass and polymers to make devices for studying microliter volumes of fluid. These tiny instruments study phenomena in a microfluidic environment, free from influences of fluid dynamics on the larger scale.

How can we use these microfluidic instruments to answer modern questions about life, on Earth and in the Universe? And what, as DIYbiologists, can we do to be part of this growing technique? This week, HiveBio will show you how to craft some simple DIY microfluidic devices  to exploit the world of low Reynolds number, and what questions we can ask as use them. Join us at Ada’s Technical Books on Wednesday, September 21st at 7:30 PM to be part of the discussion!


Register for our new classes!

Q: When’s the best time to register for our new classes?

A: Now!

HiveBio is offering two new classes this October, with registration open for these courses now:

Molecule World


If you’re interested in learning about how molecules work, check out or class Molecule World: Genetics, Chemistry and Art. Taking place on October 15th from 2-5PM, this class explores how structure and shape of molecules drives everything from viral resistance to albino cats. Check out more by clicking here, and register now at Brown Paper Tickets.


Make your own Slime

flier-Slime10-122-16October wouldn’t be October without some goopy, creepy, slimy stuff – so HiveBio is here to help you get ready for Halloween by offering our new course Make Your Own Slime on October 22nd, from 2-5PM. This class will show you how to make oozing green goop from household materials, covering basics of Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids and chemical principals. Learn more here, or register directly at Brown Paper Tickets.

October is right around the corner, so register now for our classes! Be sure to visit our registration page to check out other classes going on in the month of September.

Makers’ Mark: White House Makerspace Meeting signals growing impact of DIY spaces

Washington, DC: The leadership of HiveBio joined with delegates from nearly 200 other makerspaces from across the country this week to take part in the Makerspace Organizers Meeting, a conference for DIY techies, scientists, and craftsmen held by the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP). For one day on August 24th, these makerspace organizers, including HiveBio’s CEO and Co-founder Bergen McMurray, listened to speakers, exchanged expertise and information, built networks of collaborators, and advance the standing of makerspaces within the U.S.


The spirit of American innovation

The White House Makerspace Organizers Meeting follows a series of events and exhibits aiming to highlight the American entrepreneurial spirit as part of the Nation of Makers initiative. American have long held a reputation for resourceful invention in fields of science and technology. As early as the 1800s, Europeans envied advancements in farming techniques resulting from the famed “American mechanical genius.” Today, the White House seeks to reinvigorate this trait of adaptability and creation in the context of the modern world – using media like 3D printers, software, and biomolecules.


Since its launch in 2014, the Nation of Makers initiative has explored a variety of forms to engage and grow the maker community. In 2014, the White House hosted the first annual Maker Faire – an event designed to showcase the diversity and achievement of American makers. Even the practice of presidential portraiture got an update as a result of the Nation of Makers initiative, as the Smithsonian dozens of hi-tech cameras to make a 3D-printed rendering of the President in ultra resolution (which you can check out here – it’s pretty cool).

Building a diverse network of makers

Sessions at the meeting focused on how to foster and promote a culture of do-it-yourself innovation in individuals and communities. Led by a Senior Advisor in the OSTP, Andrew Coy, discussions covered broad topics like intellectual property, increasing diversity and accessibility, and bringing citizen science into education, as well as the tedious but important fundamentals of running a successful makerspace, such as securing funding, fostering an atmosphere of innovation, marketing, and conflict resolution.

Morning presentations by White House officials included Julie Lenzer, Director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Quincy Brown, Senior Policy Advisor, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Sanjay Koyani, Senior Advisor to the Chief Technology Officer, US Department of Health and Human Services, and Megan Smith, US Chief Technology Officer, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Among the highlights, Kari Love, representing the makerspace NYC Resistor, delivered a talk on the importance of diversity in the modern DIY movement. A broadway seamstress by trade, Love followed a circuitous path into science, transferring her skills from designing costumes to designing space suits. She now works in tandem with electrical engineers to develop soft robotics, and actively promotes the value of including people of diverse skills, personalities, and backgrounds into makerspaces to develop novel products and techniques.

HiveBio’s perspective

McMurray, the CEO and Cofounder of HiveBio, took away this from the event: the US goverment supports the Maker movement, and is interested in fostering the unique type of innovation that comes from maker collaboration. For

IMG_7942makerspaces like HiveBio, it seems clear the Obama administration is keen to learn more from the makers themselves on how to develop and grow makerspaces around the country.

Community bio labs were well-represented at the meeting – in addition to HiveBio, groups like BioCurious (Berkely, CA) and Counter Culture Labs (Oakland, CA) voiced the interest of the DIYbio community. Additional Seattle makerspaces Metrix and SoDo MakerSpace attended the meeting as well.

If you’d like to learn more about the Makerspace Organizers Meeting, videos of talks and sessions are available on the White House Youtube Channel. More information on the Nation of Makers initiative is available here.

Check out this article from Make Magazine about this exciting meeting of Makerspace Founders and White House officials: Makerspace Organizers Convene at the White House.

article by GM Showalter
contributions by Bergen McMurray

Calling all Makers: the Seattle Mini Maker Faire!

It’s almost that time of year again – when DIY-enthusiasts and makers from around the


region gather together for the event billed as “The Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth.” Whether you make home brew or your own computers, tinker in garage DNA or think of yourself as a self-reliant farmer, if you DIY, then you belong at the fifth annual Seattle Mini Maker Faire. 

HiveBio will be hosting a booth at the Maker Faire with lots of fun activities to get you diving in to the world of citizen science, or entertain you as an old pro at DIYbio. Classic strawberry DNA extractions, smartphone microscopes – all the favorite classes offered at HiveBio will be condensed into one booth.

The Maker Faire runs on Sept 17th – 18th, from 10 AM to 5PM at the EMP (at Seattle Center). Make sure to stop by and visit our booth – we can’t wait to see you there!

You can purchase tickets and learn more about the Maker Faire by visiting their website. 


Almost back to school? Warm up your brain with new HiveBio classes.

As the summer starts to wind down, it’s time to kick your brain back in to gear with some new classes offered at HiveBio.

September 3rd (Saturday), 11AM-2PM
Presented by Bergen McMurray
Our friends at Backyard Brains have done it again! We are proud to present their Anuradha Rao Memorial Experiment: Neuropharmacology-Effect of Nicotine and MSG on Neurons!
It’s 2 AM, your linear algebra final is in 6 hours, and you gulp down another espresso. You start thinking: “I wonder how this espresso and other drugs actually work?” We are here to lead you through an interesting experiment where you will use drugs, such as glutamate and nicotine, to change the firing rate of the cricket cerci system’s neurons. In this experiment you will learn how different drugs and chemical agents affect the nervous system using the cricket cercal system. You will also learn how to create a few different chemical solutions.

For more information please see the Backyard Brains website.

Please note that this class requires pre-registration in order to ensure that there are enough materials and crickets for all students.

Note that this class utilizes the Backyard Brains Spikerbox. You can bring your own (for sale at or share/observe the HiveBio Spikerbox.

Please sign up here!

September 17th (Saturday), 2PM-5PM
Presented by Jessica Day
Come to HiveBio and work with scientists from Institute for Systems Biology (ISB) to explore the world of systems biology and sustainable agriculture!

What is Aquaponics?
Aquaponics is a method of sustainable food production. In this class, we will study this system of aquaculture in which wastes produced by farmed fish or other aquatic animals contributes nutrients for plants grown hydroponically. These plants, in turn, purify the water and create a self-sustaining garden!

Experts will guide you through designing, engineering, and maintaining your very own aquaponic system. Record data and monitor your system online to optimize efficiency and contribute to cutting-edge research using ISB’s web application. Arrive a curious learner, leave a citizen scientist!

Price of the class includes materials. Pre-registration for this class is required so we can order your Aquaponics kit. Sales are final and refunds cannot be offered for this workshop.

Please sign up here!



Beginning Neurobiology: Sheep Brain Dissection
October 8th (Saturday), 2PM-5PM
Presented by Bergen McMurray
Come explore the basics of neurobiology with HiveBio co-founder Bergen McMurray! We will discuss neuronal structure, action potentials, and functional areas of the brain. This exploration includes the dissection of preserved sheep brains to explore some of the macro-structures of the brain. This class is great for those who have an interest in neuroscience, or are looking for some hands-on lab experience.
Students under 18 are welcome, but they must have a parent present. Parents, we won’t order a brain for you unless you register as well. Brains are preserved in Carosafe, an odorless fluid designed to minimize the unpleasant odor of formaldehyde. Students will used razor blades to open up the brain, so please consider these safety issues before registering a child.

In order to acquire the materials for this class, pre-registration is required. 

Please contact if you have any questions or concerns about this class.

Please sign up here!

HiveBio is a-buzz with Busy bees!

This past Saturday, HiveBio was a-buzz with Busy bees! 13 Students from around Seattle participated in our Introduction to Microbiology Class through our BusyBeesBio Program, which taught basics of microbiology like gel electrophoresis. Below are some pictures highlighting the great time our students had learning more about the world of bacteria and archaea while at HiveBio.

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This course is possible through an NSF Grant in collaboration with Dr. Herbert Sauro at the University of Washington. Through the generosity of NSF, we’re able to provide as many as 55 students a year with a chance to experience biology hands on. You can learn more about our other BusyBeesBio courses here.

Q: Do you like dinosaurs and bioinformatics?!

A: Of course you do! And you want to learn more about these things at our Build your own   Dinosaur class! Here’s the video to prove it:

This class will be an intro to bioinformatics wherein we explore the lineage of dino DNA using the tools of bioinformatics. Each student will create a dinosaur of their own using 3d modeling software and leave the class with a HiveBio t-shirt displaying the dinosaur they have created! No experience with programming or 3d modeling is required.

Students will learn why Jurassic Park is not scientifically accurate, and how one could create a dinosaur using bioinformatics, genetics and various existing biological techniques. This class will teach basic programming knowledge in python, basic data science visualization, and explore the genomic science behind how a dinosaur could be genetically engineered.

Requirements for the class
This class is appropriate for all ages, but has some requirements:
1. A working laptop with:
a. Windows XP or greater, or Mac OSX Mountain Lion or greater.
b. Minimum 2 GB of ram
c. Video Card and Wifi
d. USB

2. Download and Install: 3d mesh mixer, and Python
Installing Python Windows:
Installing Python Mac (already installed)

Installing 3d mesh mixer:

If you have any questions or need technical assistance, please e-mail us at Click here to register for this class.