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The Open Plant Community Biology Project

AwesomeNYC is excited to support the Open Plant Community Project with a grant of $1,000 to fund the scientific mentorship and guidance they need to prepare their research into the use of liverwort plants in the production of insulin for the upcoming Open Plant Forum to be held in July 2019.

We are a community project at Genspace, the world’s first community biology lab, based in Brooklyn, NY. Genspace provides an avenue for everyday people to participate in advancing science: members of our group are people from the community who don’t have access to academic or corporate labs and are passionate about collaborating to push research forward and make the world a better place.

Our Open Plant Project was inspired by the Open Plant Research Centre in the United Kingdom and seeks to make plant research more accessible, approachable, and open source. We hope to be the first Open Plant group in the United States.

We are applying to the Awesome Foundation to support us in developing our community plant science research project so that we can bring it to an international Forum held by the Open Plant Research Centre in July 2019.

Right now, our group is working hard to find ways to create more sustainable and affordable insulin production using liverwort plants. Insulin is a valuable protein that is essential to 387 million people worldwide diagnosed with diabetes. We are the only community biology lab participating - all others are from major research universities - and so we operate in a very DIY manner, funding everything ourselves. Through this project we hope to teach members skills in plant tissue culture, advance plant research, and inspire the public to explore ideas about plants in ways they never imagined before.

The DIY biology community is endlessly curious, cooperative, resourceful, and diverse. We collaborate globally but focus locally - on the needs of our neighborhoods and communities. With the support of the Awesome Foundation, we can show that when everyday people come together in pursuit of cutting edge scientific research, they are capable of discovering things that make the world a better place. This will make our community more awesome by inspiring us to reach farther, think bigger, come together, and break down the Ivy Tower barriers to scientific curiosity and discovery.

Funded by New York City, NY (March 2019)