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Community Biotechnology




MAS: Media Arts and Sciences

Faculty Supervisor:

Joseph Jacobson

Faculty email:


Apply by:

May 7, 2020



Project Description

Come join the Media Laboratory’s Community Biotechnology Initiative, led by Dr. David Sun Kong! As living technologies proliferate, how do we ensure that communities, diverse socioeconomically, culturally, and creatively, are able to not only experience its benefits, but are also active participants and agents of change? Through this Initiative, we: (i) develop open-source, accessible, and high-throughput tools for biotechnology and (ii) organize communities, including a growing network of ‘community biology’ labs as a new form of collective intelligence for the life sciences. We seek up to two UROP students to join our Summer 2020 team. Projects include: Technology Researching robust, low-cost solutions versions of cutting edge bio-technologies Researching electroporation with microbes from various environments Researching co-culturing of microbes with high-throughput tools Research support for covid diagnostics and hardware design Community Organizing Develop community engagement platforms for educational electroporation protocols and COVID community challenges. Advance ‘Metafluidics,’ an open repository of fluidics and bio-hardware with a community of 1.5k+ users Organize the fourth annual Global Community Biology Summit, a gathering of community and independent bio labs around the world (possibly virtual in Fall 2020).


Prerequisites A desire to utilize biotechnology as a means to create a more just, equitable society; Curiosity, enthusiasm, and a passion for learning; New summer 2020 virtual UROPs will primarily involve virtual website design, development, and community coordination for life science community outreach projects, as well as literature review support and design development for in-lab researchers on technology projects. (When MIT re-opens lab work for UROPs, research has involved electronic board design, hardware prototyping, and wetlab work.) Experience & Skills (preferred but optional): -user experience design; -community organizing experience; -proficiency with wordpress and/or other web development platforms and tools; -social science experience related to collective intelligence or community/crowd-based innovation; -basic prototyping wet lab experience, including molecular and micro-biology techniques; -electronic board design and hardware; -microfluidic design and fabrication; -experience with fabrication technology and hardware development; with biology applications a plus!