bioCURIOUS Projects

Active, Past, and Inactive Project List


Due to COVID-19 the lab is currently closed.  Go to to see our online meeting schedule.

One of the most frequently asked questions at BioCurious is, “What are people working on?” We’re glad you asked.

Ideas are always a-brew at BioCurious — ideas that sometimes turn into award-winning projects with global recognition.

Community Projects

We believe that everyone should be able to participate in science. Our community projects are open to anyone of any age (who is a teen and up) regardless of skill, education, or experience. No membership is required – just drop in! The projects are driven entirely by whoever wants to show up and participate, and run by the two project leads for each project. This is a great opportunity to check out BioCurious, and jump into some of the projects going on.

Active Projects | Past Projects


Active Projects



Meets every Thursday 7:00-9:00 pm

For 6 years we have worked to design an open source DIY cell printer.  We are on v5 of our hardware.  A project for all ages with hardware, software, and wet lab work.  Check out our project Wiki.


Cuttlefish Project

Meets every Wednesday 7:00-9:00 pm

Founded in 2017, the Cuttlefish Project is an ambitious endeavor to study Sepia bandensis, the Dwarf Cuttlefish.  Our team aims to do something never done before: create the first immortal cell line for a mollusc species and to fully sequence the genome of a cuttlefish.  Check out our project Wiki.
Science Overview of the Cuttlefish Community Project Part 1
Science Overview of the Cuttlefish Community Project Part 2


Open Insulin Project

Meets every other Sunday, 12:00 pm (see schedule on Meetup)

Founded in 2015, the Open Insulin project is developing the first freely available, open protocol for insulin production.  There are 387 million people worldwide living with diabetes that need insulin to survive.  Many diabetics in poor communities go without insulin and as a result, suffer serious health problems.  Over the past 60 years the list price of insulin has gone up 43 times (from about .75 cents to $250) making it unaffordable for many.  The Open Insulin project is engineering a protocol to express insulin protein from yeast that will be freely available for insulin production. Recent article in Time Magazine   Check out our project page.

Real Vegan Cheese

Meets every other Monday at 7:00 pm (see Meetup)

An award-winning collaboration between Counter Culture Labs and BioCurious, to make real cheese without using any animals! It is a not a cheese substitute. It all starts with regular old baker’s yeast. We engineer our yeast to become milk-protein factories. Our milk proteins are then combined with water and vegan oil to make Vegan Milk which is ultimately converted into Real Vegan Cheese through standard cheese-making processes.  Check out our wiki

Kombucha Genomics

Meets every other Tuesday at 7:00 pm (see Meetup)

Kombucha Genomics is a project for all you fermented foods lovers.  We are isolating and identifying a variety of bacterial and yeast strains from kombucha or other fermented foods (bring your own), starting with basic culturing and progressing all the way through DNA barcoding, genome and microbiome sequencing, systems biology, synthetic biology and more!

Community Garden Project

check Meetup for schedule

BioCurious has space at the new Santa Clara community garden and the group meets to teach classes and plant things for our community use.  We can't do GMO work in the community garden but there are a lot of activities we are working on. 

Past Projects


Bioluminescence Project

No longer meeting

This was a long running project in the early days of BioCurious.  It spun off a lot of side projects such as engineering the Lux operon with various methods including Gibson Assembly,  Golden Gate and GoldenBraid.  There was also a lot of study around bioluminesent organisms such as dinoflagellates and methods to grow them.  Bioluminescent Hourglass

Quantum Biology

No longer meeting

This project was working to build a Surface Plasmon Resonance device using graphene and lasers.  A project where biology meets physics. Check out our project wiki.

Build a Microscope

No longer meeting

This project COMPLETED!  After just over 2 years of work we built a functional microscope out of an Illumnia gene sequencer and other parts.

A multi week hack-a-thon to build an inverted, optical, fluorescing microscope.  We have spent a year sourcing the parts for this project including a laser light source, and optics to build a functional microscope for use in our lab.  Led by Eric Harness, our resident equipment guru. Check out our project wiki

Plant BioTech Group

No longer meeting

A weekly meeting open to the public to study and enable plant biotech.  We have activities that range from: Classes (Cloning, Bacterial and Plant transformation, Tissue culture), infrastructure buildout (Grow chambers, Hydro/Aqua ponics,Abiotic stress chambers, Diagnostics), Library collection (Method, Seeds and germplasm, courseware, labware), Plant trait identification and development through all known mechanisms (hybridization, transgenic and mutagenic), Discussions (eg GMO vs Non-GMO education). maybe even Plants and Art (after all who does not love this… )

Lab on a Chip

No longer meeting

This project is building a “Lab on a Chip” (which is a microfluidic device)! We’ll meet weekly to discuss & learn to build these devices.  We have three active sub-projects we work on including designing a pocket petri dish, building cell free bio-sensors to detect heavy metals in water, and assembling a microdroplet microfludic device.  You can follow the project on our project Meeting Notes.

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