What's Behind bioCURIOUS

Our Mission

We believe that innovations in biology should be accessible, affordable, and open to everyone.

We’re building a community biology lab for amateurs, inventors, entrepreneurs, and anyone who wants to experiment and learn.

What We Are

  1. A complete working laboratory and technical library for entrepreneurs to cheaply access equipment, materials, and co-working space
  2. A training center for biotechniques, with an emphasis on safety
  3. A meeting place for citizen scientists, hobbyists, activists, and students

Who We Are


Joe Bamberg

Board Member, Treasurer

Joe learned to make gunpowder from an encyclopedia reference at the age of 10. This started a search for recipes that ended with discovering he was good at organic chemistry. Joe then picked up a second degree in economics as it felt like science in the 1700’s. He worked at Zoecon and helped develop weed and insect control by studying plant and insect hormones. He worked at Roche developing drugs for chronic and viral diseases. His experience at Burning man revealed the importance of have communities surrounding Maker Spaces. Retiring has given him time to explore chocolate, go to film festivals and help out at BioCurious on chemistry related issues. Joe has been a board member since 2017.


Maria Chavez

Board Member, President

Over the past 6 years Maria has organized our events, classes and community projects. She is also a Board Member of Real Vegan Cheese, an open source project to create a synthetic cheese from genetically modified yeast. Maria is an adviser to the Latin American Network of BioHacker Spaces and has been a leader on two iGEM teams, in 2014 and 2015.  She is also a leading member of the Open Insulin Project and a cofounder of the Cuttlefish Project.  Her ambition is to continue to push open source science and to aid in the creation of more community biotech/science spaces available to everyone. Maria has a BS in Information Technology and an MBA focused in Global Management.


Eric Espinosa, Ph.D.

Board Member, Secretary

Eric is an experienced scientist and entrepreneur. He is the founding scientist at three biotech companies and holds more than a dozen patents in next generation sequencing technologies and protein engineering. Dr. Espinosa has been published in top-tier journals such as Cell, Science, and Journal of Cell Biology. He was a scientist at Clontech Laboratories and TakaraBio, consults for early-stage life science companies, and leads the immortalized cuttlefish cell line project at BioCurious. Eric received his B.S. in Chemistry at Indiana University (2004) where he studied RNA structure and function. He then went to Stanford University where he earned his PhD in the Biochemistry Department (2011). He worked with Suzanne Pfeffer to understand the molecular mechanisms of vesicle trafficking. Eric has been a BioCurious board member since 2017.


Eri Gentry


Eri works toward the democratization and human-centricity of biology and medicine. Eri is also a science and technology researcher at the Institute for the Future, a Palo Alto-based futures research organization, where she helps organizations navigate the zones between technology disruption and user adoption. Eri sits on the board of Summer.org, a STEM education organization. She has been named a Champion for Change in Citizen Science by the White House, a Hometown Hero by Popular Mechanics, a Techonomy Top Ten (edging out additive manufacturing). She was previously cofounder and CEO of Livly, a biotech startup on a mission to cure major human diseases.


Jay Hanson

Board Member, Chairman of the Board

Jay worked in the consumer software industry for 30+ years including 5 startups and 2 successful IPOs.  His longest stints included VP Engineering at Visioneer (desktop scanners and image processing software) and Director of Operations in the Consumer Software Division at Apple.  After retiring from Apple, Jay got interested in molecular biology and joined BioCurious.  He is self-taught in biology having taken classes at BioCurious and online courses from MIT along with self-study. As a member of the BioCurious PlantBio project he built a low cost DIY gene gun for transfecting plants and published plans and usage instructions in the BioCoder Journal.  He also co-founded Berkeley BioLabs, an incubator for early stage biotech startups.


Innokenti Toulokhonov, Ph.D.

Board Member

Innokenti joined the BioCurious Board in 2017.  He is an expert in protein engineering and founded Amid Biosciences.


Sequoia Fischer

Board Member

Sequoia Fischer has long been fascinated by nature and its diversity in color, texture, and shape. She aims to use her skills as a biologist and artist to replicate some of the beauty found outdoors and to bring it to our lives in novel forms. She graduated from the University of Arizona with two degrees: One in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the other in 3D Studio Art. She now works in the bay area as a synthetic biologist and protein engineer for a couple of startups and plans on establishing her own in the near future.

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