Week 05


Biology was never my favourite subject in school, although it was not a subject that I did not like, but it was something that was not relevant to my future life at that time. I just wanted to learn math and English to become a programmer, a dream that later became a publicist. Anyway, when I saw her in the master's degree as one of the contents, I was aroused by the curiosity of trying to understand what this was all about synthetic, genetic and biomaterial biology that everyone was talking about.

During the week we had a good learning dynamic, in which in the morning we saw a theoretical part and then in the afternoon we performed a practical part in which we performed different exercises that helped us open our minds to think how this could be applied to our Different projects or things in life. In the end I realized that by being able to better understand biology, I could also learn how to hack it to create new things or make them work in a different way. In the end it is like the rules, if you want to break them, you must first know them.

From the first class we start seeing concepts like Molecular biology, Microbiology, Cellular Biology, Physiology, Cultural Evolution and more. Understanding also that the part of science that gets in charge of the big bang theories is the Quantum Mechanics, that synthetic biology was in charge of the art of creating and that there was already something called CRISP-Cas9 which worked as a pair of scissors that can cut a molecule DNA more efficient than other methods, helping for a closer selection of what we want to change in the DNA, and how this was already being used to create miniature pigs or pigs with a lot of muscles by genetic engineers. All of this at the beginning started to sound as weird science, but in the end it all make sense.

One of the things I liked most, even when it might sound really basic, was how to use the scientific method to research about a problem, and how you should always have a positive and negative control in your experiments to detect what changes between the negative and the positive control you are doing in order to understand how each one of this changes affects the result of your experiment. 

I´m now using this methodology to test the sensors in the soil for my final project, and it has helped me to slowly discover what is going wright or wrong.

The picture to the right is a creative visualization I´ve made of this concept.

We also had a day dedicated to microbiology, bio chemistry and genetics, in which we learned how cells work as a big molecular machine in which RNA transcripts the code from DNA, and translates it in the ribosome to create different kind of amino acids combinations that bend and reshape to create different proteins; how genetic modification works; the bonding between different elements to form certain molecules or materials; the functional groups in chemistry; wich molecules compose the human body and a lot more amazing stuff.

The picture to the left is a creative visualization I´ve made of the main composition uf humans and their enviroment.

In the practical afternoons we learned to create food to cultivate and grow different microbes, bacteria and fungi; how to observe through a microscope different microorganisms, how to create different biomaterials extracting their basic composition from common elements; and how to work with DNA extraction and analysis with DIY opensource machines instead of expensive equipment.

In some sort of way, this class was a slap in your face that shows you how nowadays there are a lot of stuff that you can do with biology at home and a lot of communities that are trying to put biology into people hands like the biohackers or DIY Bio community’s. For me it was a class that blowed my mind in a world of possibilities for the future, and also gave me a good background and understanding of some basic topics that are now being part of my project like the biomes that compose the soil and the other in the environment that affect the plants, and all the amount of nutrients that soil must have, beyond water. Making me to research deeper into how sensors can gather data from the soil, plants and environment to adapt to climate change.


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