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Open Cell: a bio-village in Shepherd’s Bush

Hear more at our Biohackspace talk at Green Lab, 7pm June 26th or MAIL: WEB:  Open Cell is a new collaborative space for biodesign and science in Shepherd’s Bush London. We support the London ecosystem of designers and scientists incorporating biological techniques into material development. The space is composed of modular mixed use areas including labs, studios and workshops across 45 shipping containers adjacent to Shepherd’s Bush Market. Become a resident or get involved!     My co-founder Helene and I ran a biodesign exhibition with the Royal College of Art in White City, a year ago. The ideas that emerged were incredible but there was no space for them to develop. Not only did teams need space but also access to lab equipment. We had exactly the same problem since we run a startup specialising in DNA prototyping tools called Cell-Free Technology.       We spent a year searching for spaces, writing proposals, receiving rejections and having negotiations. It was demoralising at times but in the end we convinced U+i group, a property developer specialising in regeneration, SynbiCITE the UK’s synthetic biology industry and engineering biology industrial accelerator, and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Council to support the initiative. After pulling the idea into reality in early April we felt elated but terrified..       We were excited to get the space established but since we were just a team of two we saw the mountain of work ahead. A friend, Dominic Falco, introduced us to Biotop, an Austrian science collective and architecture studio. We only began talking only in April but within a month the entire Biotop team flew to London to begin building labs in shipping containers! We installed fume cupboard, BSL cabinet, CO2 incubator, sink, autoclave, thermocycler, microscopes, centrifuges, -80 freezer and Biotop created...

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