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This is an incomplete list of current active projects at CCLabs:


Real Vegan Cheese

Biohackers are engineering baker's yeast to produce Real Vegan Cheese. No cows needed!

Meets: Organizational meetings every other Monday 7pm. Lab work scheduled on alternate mondays or as needed.

See also:

Open Insulin

We are developing the first open source protocol to produce insulin simply and economically. Our work may serve as a basis for generic production of this life-saving drug and provide a firmer foundation for continued research into improved versions of insulin.


There are currently about 387 million people worldwide living with diabetes. Meanwhile, as discussed by Jeremy A. Greene and [Kevin R. Riggs in their [March 2015 article in the New England Journal of Medicine], there is no generic insulin available on the market despite great demand in poorer communities and regions of the world. As a result, many go without insulin and suffer complications including blindness, cardiovascular disease, amputations, nerve and kidney damage, and even death. Pharmaceutical companies patent small modifications to previous insulins while withdrawing those previous versions from the market to keep prices up. Additionally, research into improvements to insulin is encumbered by the subtle and difficult nature of the current standard protocols for insulin synthesis.

What is the significance of our project?

Availability of generic insulin is crucial in reducing suffering and death among society's most disadvantaged groups. According to the [2014 CDC report] on diabetes, in 2012 the total cost of diabetes in America was $245 billion dollars. According to Diabetes in America, 2nd Edition by the US National Diabetes Data Group, Chapter 6, "The elderly, racial and ethnic minorities, and lower-income U.S. adults will likely require an increasing share of diabetes-related health care and preventive services. With a greater proportion of diabetic persons being older and poorer, the cost of these services will likely increase…"

Industrial protocols for insulin production don't support generic production. They're complex, decades-old, and often encumbered by patents. Ours will be simple and open.

What are the goals of the project?

The goal is insert an optimized DNA sequence for insulin into E. coli bacteria, induce the bacteria to express insulin precursors, and verify that human proinsulin has been produced. We are trying two different sequences to maximize results.

All protocols we develop and discoveries generated by our research will be freely available in the public domain. We will also be proactively investigating strategies to protect the open status of our work.

How we do it -- in pictures (images taken by Alan Rockefeller)





A Do-It-Yourself Revolution in Diabetes Care, New York Times, 2/22/2016 [4]

After 92 Years, Biohackers Want to Finally Make Cheap and Generic Insulin, Vice 11/19/2015 [5]

These Biohackers Are Creating Open-Source Insulin, Popular Science 11/18/2015 [6]


We are reprogramming E.coli to produce its own "sunscreen." We also utilize directed evolution to improve the effectiveness of the process.

This project is a collaboration between Counter Culture Labs (Oakland), BioCurious (Sunnyvale), and Berkeley Bio Labs (Berkeley) -- and won the bronze medal at the 2015 iGEM synthetic biology competition!

To join us remotely, please click this URL to start or join: [[7]] Open to all ages, high school and up.

Or, go to [[8]] and enter meeting ID: 820 128 495

Join from dial-in phone line, dial: +1 (415) 762-9988 or +1 (646) 568-7788

To show you what it looks like to work on this project, here are some pictures:

This is Rikke committing bacteriocide. Photo courtesy Wayne Harris.


Working with the inoculated Petri dishes. Added by Patrik.


Placing the inoculated Petri dishes into the UV chamber. Added by Patrik.


Fermentation Station

Bay Area Applied Mycology

Lab Robotics

We are currently working on the Pepper the OpenTrons DIY Liquid Handling Robot in the basement of CCL.

DIY Space Microfluidics

Art & Science

Protein Modeling

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