One of the greatest things about being a young adult is seeing friends and acquaintances start to realize their dreams. Often, in the midst of reading about all these great achievements by incredibly intelligent entrepreneurs, inventors and researchers, I forget that where I am in life, right now, is the time where people start becoming those great entrepreneurs, inventors and researchers I keep reading about. I don’t have to just read about them, I can actually get to know them, and possibly even be one of them. It’s an incredibly scary and invigorating time, where the things I always read about can actually be the things I can do. Not someday, but now.
A former high-school classmate of mine, Alexandra Cohn is starting an inspiring and eye-catching project along with two of her university classmates at the University of Wisconsin. It’s called Biobulb, and it’s basically a closed microbial ecosystem that is genetically engineered to glow-in-the-dark. It’s similar to the incredibly successful Glowing Plant Kickstarter that attracted the attention of the science media. Except while Glowing Plants placed the luminescent gene in the Arabidopsis plant, the Biobulb team will be inserting the gene in E. Coli. The bacteria will be contained in a self sufficient ecosystem (that only requires the input of light), meaning the maintenance of the Biobulb will be minimal (which, in my opinion, makes it even better than the Glowing Plant). Biobulb has also been chosen as one of 30 (among 300) project finalists in the #CrowdGrant Challenge hosted by Popular Science Magazine. It’s a great example of blending art and science together to highlight the beauty of both.
Unlike the Glowing Plant Team, Alexandra and her team don’t have the resources to operate a large media campaign, so I’m trying to reach as many people as I can through this blog and my twitter feed. They are looking for funders through their Rockethub page and are hoping to raise $15,000 by the end of August. Funding Biobulb also gets you goodies as well! I really encourage you to donate some money (I did!) and/or spread the word to friends and family who you think will be interested in such a project. I think Biobulb is a great example of the innovative solutions we can make through synthetic biology. It’s also a nice reminder that NOW is always the best time to do what you’ve always wanted to do.