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INTERVIEW: KEENAN

DATE: 16.09.2016     TAGS: bio · final project

The interviewee was Keenan, originally from India, but living in Copenhagen. He is a trained molecular biologist, entrepreneur & chairman of the open biohackspace Biologigaragen.

Top 3 inspiring stories

  1. “If you think ‘ok, this space is only for electronics’ then you kind of put yourself in a box, if you say ‘it’s only for biology’ you put yourself in another box, if you say ‘this is open, do what ever you want, mix everything up’ – now you have a crazy level of possibilities.”
  2. “Europe was always known to be a big biotech hub […] And we don’t have a biohackerspace that can do GM work right now. So we are kind of pushing to see if we can get to that level where we can actually do genetic modification in house. Because that opens up a world of possibilities to people with creative ideas and we have people with the skill sets to help them get there. So it’s just a matter of time before we actually get to that level.”
  3. “In my mind, […] it comes down to how much time are you willing to spend on learning something new. If it is too difficult, you might be put off by it, if it is too easy you might not find it interesting enough. So it has to be the right difficulty level to begin with.”

Attitude towards Biohacking

  1. “In biotechnology there was always a time where I felt that biologist where in stiff competition which each other rather than helping each other – and this what I see a shift in right now. People are more into the sharing culture rather than competition. Which I think is better for science in general.”
  2. “People say there are big risks, because you are giving people with no experience very powerful tools – and I completely believe that. […] So I believe that the biohacking community needs to have advisors. You need people from the scientific community who can say that we vouch for this lab.”
  3. “When I came into a hackerspace, I had kind of one dimensional view of biology. It was always buy materials, do research and get the results. A lot of people use these for different things – things that I would not have imagined them being used for.”

Most memorable quote

“This way you have citizens coming in, you have designers, you have artists, you have engineers, saying ‘lets use this toolkit as a diverse form of archiving what we need’. Because Arduino, Raspberry Pi, all these different boards, they made electronics accessible.. DIY CRIPSR kits, cheap cost of synthetic oligonucleotides and labs in a box.. things like this can really help artists, designers and common people getting involved with synthetic biology.”

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