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.

DIY Neuroscience: Build Your Own SpikerBox

“The brain is complex, but extremely fascinating. We need more people interested in studying the brain because 20% of the world will have a neurological disorder… and there are no cures! To study the brain, you typically have to be a graduate student at a major university. Not any more! Backyard Brains enables everyone to be a neuroscientist! We provide affordable neuroscience experiment kits for students of all ages to learn (hands-on) about electrophysiology. Now everyone from schoolchildren to grad students and every grade in between can experiment with similar tools used by real neuroscientists worldwide! By following a few simple steps, everyone can experience first-hand how the brain communicates with our senses, memories, hopes, and desires.”

Backyard Brains


If you’re interested in neuroscience and/or electronics, then this is the class for you! Together, we’ll each build our own SpikerBoxes from Backyard Brains. SpikerBoxes monitor the action potential (electric activity) of neurons. With just your SpikerBox and a smartphone or computer, you’ll be able to see and hear the electrical activity of neurons in real time!

This class is being offered on Saturday, June 11th, 1-5PM and all materials are provided. This class requires some soldering, but don’t worry if you have no experience – the HiveBio team will be here to help you out. We will need to download the Backyard Brains app to view our data. To ensure that everyone gets their own SpikerBox ($50 SpikerBox included in ticket price), registration closes May 30th.

Please check out the Backyard Brains website for more information about their Spikerboxes! Presented by Bergen McMurray, HiveBio Co-founder and CEO. This class is recommended for students ages 12 and up.



Register for this class on Brown Paper Tickets today! 

Engineering genetic circuits: Algorithms and advances in synthetic biology

From basic feed forward loops to the repressilator, the principles of circuit design guide


both natural and synthetic gene expression in bacteria. Much of our basic understand of genetic control systems is borrowed from our expertise in designing and fabricating mechanical and electrical parts. But how do we standardize a circuit board as complex as a genome, what tools do we use and how do we implement them? Join us as HiveBio bridges the gap between in silico and in vivo, discussing how citizens, students, and scientists guide the development of standardized genetic circuits.
Be part of the discussion on Wednesday, 18th May at Ada’s Technical Books (425 15th Ave E on the Hill)

Hey you! Put that nose to good use on May 14th!


A freshly mown lawn, a crackling bonfire’s smoke, or piping hot chicken soup on a cold day. All these and other smells conjure warm memories, emotions, primal fears and human relationships, far beyond the basic sense of smell. With a nose that can distinguish one trillion different scents, we carry one of the world’s best molecular detectors. But how much do we really know about smell and its effect on our lives? How does fragrance drive our moods? How do we perceive it and describe it to others?

Come explore the sense of smell from the biology that makes it possible to the chemistry behind fragrances and essential oils. Led by Reitha Weeks, PhD, we’ll investigate product labels and aromatherapy claims, test your ability to identify smells, and extract essential oils for you to take home. So let’s dive into the world of smells you’ll be surprised how much there is to learn.

This course is running on May 14th, 2016 from 2-5PM at the HiveBio Labs, and is one of our most popular to date! Register for this course by clicking here!

*Please note that this class is not suitable for those with chemical or fragrance sensitivities.*




Going minimalist: Tracking the hunt for the world’s simplest cell.

On March 24th, 2016 the J. Craig Venter Institute announced they had successfully developed a free-living cell with the smallest possible genome. Unlike their first synthetic cells made in 2010 from a preexisting bacterial genome, this organism, affectionately named JCVI-syn3.0, is made entirely from scratch.


What does JCVI-syn3.0 mean for the future of genomics? Are we witnessing a new age of synthetic biology? Will we be able to match our ethical standards to our technological progress?

Join us on April 20th at 7:30PM in Ada’s Technical Books for a discussion on going minimalist: tracking the hunt for the world’s simplest cells.


The zombies are coming!

Will you survive the Zombie Apocalypse when it hits Seattle? Join this class to find out!


In a world where the Undead have taken over our beloved Emerald City, we’re the last one standings, holding out in HiveBio’s labs. But how can we tell if those among us have already been bitten and are a ticking timebomb of insatiable brain biters? With HiveBio’s Regina Wu, we’ll learn how to use ELISA to detect zombie-virus antibodies  – and find out who to keep away from.

In this course, you can expect to learn introductory level science on zombies, viruses, our immune system, and ELISA. You’ll be able to get some hands-on ELISA practice and make an your own antibody model- lest you forget what the Zombie Virus looks like!

April 23rd, 2016: Zombie Apocalypse! 2-5PM

Register for this course by clicking here!

This course is recommended for ages 12 and up.