Mon 14 Feb 2022 11:56PM

Generating promotional materials around biotech and quality of life

DU [deactivated account] Public Seen by 58

A potential tactic to get more attention on Biotech Without Borders while also putting our understanding of science to use for the public good is to create promotional materials that highlight an insight aimed to improve the quality of life for New Yorkers. These materials would be distributed in the physical world, link to our website, and drive traffic to membership and/or programming.

Key Requirements

  • Broadly applicable insights that are supported by scientific literature

  • Easily understandable by a popular audience

  • Can direct attention to membership and/or programming

Current Topic

Chirag had many ideas and based spanning biological safety, pet longevity, garden plant culture and DIY. Based on limited feedback he has decided to focus on air and water quality. There is also interest in linking microplastics to health concerns with projects around testing and filtration being suggested as potential matched programming.

The working title for this campaign is "Safe in the City"

How to use this Thread

Please use this thread to brainstorm ideas and implementations as well as to discuss potential topics. The ultimate goal is to find consensus on topics, the requirements of this project, and execute the creation/ distribution of these materials.


[deactivated account] Tue 15 Feb 2022 12:01AM

Hi All,

My name is chirag and I would like to try to build a couple permanent pages to share very accessible ways to use biology and our laboratory community and space to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers, pets, plants to obtain sustained engagement. Digital visual assets help map biotech ideas to illustrate ways life in the city could be more sustainable and durable for wellness and community growth. In short, the space would be a launchpad for sharing essential biotechnology to potential community members with emphasis on popular activities or current concerns.

I will add to this after the meeting today to provide instructions on contributing to this thread to help develop the digital visual assets.


Danny Tue 15 Feb 2022 3:32PM

Thanks for posting Chirag I appreciate your bravery/determination, jumping into working with our Loomio platform without any in-person training. One pointer would be that ensure the context alone can be read and understood by folks coming to the thread. As the thread develops comments might get buried by others. The context can be edited or updated as needed and should give the reader everything they need to jump into a discussion. I suggest to revise the context to include some of the information in your first comment as it elaborates on what you mean by virtual space (it seems like you're talking about a website). The following may also be useful.

To add on from what I remember from when you first proposed this idea 2 meetings ago:

  • the capacity to organize the creation of useful infographics would both be marketing and mission-aligned outreach

  • QR codes on posters pasted in relevant areas would be one way to direct foot traffic to digital traffic

  • we would need help researching and vetting specific "tips / facts" that we would want to disseminate

Also I am interested to hear you elaborate on the examples you suggest in the title of the context.


[deactivated account] Thu 17 Mar 2022 8:48PM

Thanks again, Danny.

So I am going to flesh this proposal out and add a pool to the community at large to inform the next steps.

I am a chemical engineer focused on biological transport in tissue to stop disease. It would be useful to brainstorm essential knowledge and practices to avoiding toxicity in the city at the nanoscale. Since we want to collect scientists, I think it would be useful to maybe establish interdisciplinary bridges to welcome more people to the community.

History: Asbestos and lead have been characterized as toxic but were indispensable building materials decades ago. Biotechnology is essential to inform and instruct on safety for daily life in the NYC.

A. Transportation: contamination risks sever

  1. Subway - Viral exposure in air and surfaces, extremes in O2/CO2 levels, lack of sunlight, Solutions: Avoid subway

  2. Pavement - No shock absorption, disrupts normal blood flow, breaks down joints

    Solutions: Use a bike or scooter

B. Pharmaceuticals: contamination risks sever

  1. Side effects - Liver and kidney disease. Solution: Avoid pharmaceuticals

  2. Shedding - Metabolites of drug spread to others after use across the ecosystem. Solution: Limit use and increase awareness of drug risks.

C. Genetic Stability : moderate risks

  1. Compromised immune systems reduce mRNA stability. Solutions: Avoid sedentary daily routines, increase sunlight exposure, avoid processed foods.

  2. Depression and isolation reduce immune function. Solutions: Promote cooperation and in person social cohesion for public well being.

D. Water - Thinking about water at the nanoscale.

E. Air - Dangerous Risks

  1. Indoor air quality poor and leads to disease. Solution: Decrease time indoors and develop outdoor space for community engagement.

F. Plants

  1. Urbanization has degraded plant and animal stability in the city. Solution: Curate open spaces and promote awareness on benefits of plants and the harms of missing them.

  2. Public awareness is poor on planting and farming basics. Solution: Highlight benefits of food policy advocacy and recruit sustained engagement and support.

G. Digestion - How to interpret chemical signals of stool and sweat to live longer.

H. Pets - How do be better pet owner.

I. Offspring - How to grow better kids


Poll Created Thu 17 Mar 2022 8:56PM

What areas of biotechnology are most essential to communicate to scientists and tinkerers in New York? Closed Thu 24 Mar 2022 8:01PM

by [deactivated account] Wed 30 Mar 2022 11:44PM

From this we will zero in on air and water quality.

Anonymous vote. Comments available as an option.

Would greatly appreciate your input to develop ways to communicate these concepts to our community.


Results Option Rank % of points Points Mean
air quality 1 13.9% 23 7.7
water quality 2 13.9% 23 7.7
plants 3 10.3% 17 5.7
immunity 4 10.3% 17 5.7
dna stability 5 9.7% 16 5.3
pharmaceuticals 6 9.7% 16 5.3
digestion 7 8.5% 14 4.7
blood 8 7.9% 13 4.3
transportation 9 7.3% 12 6.0
toxicity 10 7.3% 12 4.0
pets 11 1.2% 2 2.0
Undecided 0% 0 0

3 of 38 people have voted (7%)


Anonymous Thu 17 Mar 2022 9:36PM

2 - immunity
3 - pharmaceuticals
4 - air quality
5 - water quality
6 - blood
7 - digestion
8 - toxicity
9 - plants
10 - pets
11 - dna stability

Not quite sure how these options map to A to I in the comment that precedes it. I ranked based on the text in the poll details but took some suggested understandings from the comments that precedes this poll


[deactivated account] Mon 28 Mar 2022 11:59PM

This recent study really goes into plastics at the nano and microscale. Toxicity at this level devastate developing living systems and it is planet wide even on the top of Mt. Everest. The data seem to support children and babies as the most vulnerable to micro and nano plastic. It would be great to develop awareness of this recent pioneering study and some solutions that can be implemented in as a significant and meaningful deterrent to toxic exposure in air or water in everyday life.


Chiu Chau Tue 29 Mar 2022 12:28PM

that's a great idea. let's continue this idea - where can it take us ?


Susan Harrington Tue 29 Mar 2022 5:10PM

Thanks for the paper. :)

I don't know much about them, but I think microplastics in our environment are a great subject to study. In general, I think that environmental surveillance of pollutants and pathogens is an area in which community biolabs could play an important role, and governments are not supporting this type of research as much as they should. Yet people are naturally interested and concerned. Cheap testing and filtration methods would be really important.

This could also tie into some other interests of the community in plants or fungi and myco-remediation. What do the plants/fungi do with microplastics (if anything)?

I know that plankton are trying to eat them, and I assume the microplastics make their way up the food chain. https://twitter.com/PlanktonPundit/status/1501272875533221891


Just collecting the relevant papers and outlining the results would be a service to the community.


Danny Wed 30 Mar 2022 9:57PM

@chirag raval here is a link to some potential resources concerning this issue that I mentioned at our meeting on Monday.

I'm reached out with the linked message to the owners of several Zotero group libraries that are already created for collecting this research. I haven't gotten any response from them so I renamed a group we have been using for some Newtown Creek microbiology to have a broader scope of Environmental Contamination. This the subfolder in that group where we may add interesting references related to microplastics. I updated the collection with the links posted in this thread prior to and including this comment.

I'm really enjoying the new (Zotero) version's ability to sync annotations and I think it would be a great way to collect relevant research and share notes/summaries for those who can use the software and serve as a basis for some of the work you are suggesting in this thread.


Ellen Jorgensen Thu 31 Mar 2022 12:34PM

I use Zotero at work and like it a lot.


Poll Created Thu 14 Jul 2022 3:58PM

Vote to obtain air monitor for lab for $29. Yes or No. Closed Sun 17 Jul 2022 3:00PM

Could we use $29 of lab funds to obtain https://datasheets.globalspec.com/ds/248/CubicSensorandInstrument/C484CCCD-D4C6-40F7-AF56-6EA00C69E82D

My concern is from fear the last 3 devices I have bought are spy devices sending data to bad actors. I would like address this by multiple measurements with different devices and trying to approach building a device from scrap using metal oxide semiconductor and near infrared detection.


Update and poll:

New program to monitor air in NYC using mobile testing for context and relevant recency.


Results Option % of points Voters
Yes 71.4% 5 YF J EJ DU MS
No 28.6% 2 D F

7 of 57 people have voted (12%)


Frank Thu 14 Jul 2022 3:59PM


I will pay the$29


Yuriy Fazylov Thu 14 Jul 2022 3:59PM


I am a little confused as to why? you need it in hopes of seeing contamination on any given day of dust being kicked up?


Ellen Jorgensen Thu 14 Jul 2022 3:59PM


I don't really understand the project, but a member wants to do it, it costs very little, and it produces data available to all.


Danny Thu 14 Jul 2022 3:59PM


I'd like to know more about how this purchase relates to the context of the thread. It could be used to collect data about air quality which is one of the area's we identified as interesting to pursue, but if the project is going to start as a tinkering experiment and a community member (Frank) offered to purchase it themselves then I would be in favour of that before making a official Bwob purchase. I'd also be happy to split the cost (or purchase other electronics useful to the project)


Danny Sat 16 Jul 2022 3:06PM

A brief review of air quality projects on hackaday (thank my partner for having the wherewithal to look for something that's out there) turned up this project which uses a similar sensor.


They have some pretty extensive documentation here.


Poll Created Wed 28 Sep 2022 10:21PM

Who is interested in the ideas outlined in the context? Closed Fri 7 Oct 2022 3:02AM

by Danny Fri 7 Oct 2022 7:00PM

Thanks all for your input. I will close this thread as the only "looks good" response did not provide any context as to how to potentially move forward.

I am assuming that this response is a generic positive response and does not imply a willingness to outline a way to move forward and I am largely discounting it. @Sana Jalili if I am being too forward with this assumption please let me know. If you do want to work with this thread please provide a little more insight as to how you think we should proceed. Even if it doesn't seem to indicate a strong direction for this thread perhaps it might serve as the nucleus for a new thread. I'm happy that Susan summarized an example of how CO2 monitoring could feedback into a campaign for better ventilation in light of the pandemic, we never explicitly said this in the thread, but I had been considering the angle. Thanks for taking the time to explain a (valuable) point of view.

I haven't been able to touch base with Chirag since he left as a member (I intend to later in the Fall). Since he was the originator of this thread and with his departure this thread no longer has a primary instigator, I think we should close the thread to keep the active threads relevant. I'm happy to have hosted a discussion on this topic and hope that it might inspire others to try their hand starting a thread but I question if we currently have the capacity/interest to execute the ideas that were developed here.

It seems to me that based on the last communication on this thread that he wanted to purse the creation of a device to measure air quality. But there was no explanation as to how this would contribute towards a tactic to engage our local community. What do others think about the the thread?


Results Option % of voters Voters
Looks good 1% 1 SJ
Not sure yet 6% 4 D SH ID A
Close the thread 4% 3 EJ F EJ

8 of 69 people have voted (11%)


<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_check_options.Not sure yet">Not Sure Yet</span>
Wed 28 Sep 2022 10:24PM

I don't see how creating the device feeds into the initial context. I also am unsure who would take the initiative on executing the work that is being discussed in this thread. But I am abstaining at the moment.


Susan Harrington
<span class="translation_missing" title="translation missing: en.poll_check_options.Not sure yet">Not Sure Yet</span>
Wed 28 Sep 2022 10:22PM

The underlying motivation is great, but the project is too broad at this point. Some of these problems seem to be superficially more related to chemistry and physics than to DIY biology (which is fine).

Eg, due to Covid, there is an urgent need to improve air quality. Air quality scientists have come up with great low cost solutions, but there is huge resistance to actually using them, eg in schools. Cheap CO2 monitors might be the most helpful device, but raising awareness is critical.