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Stanford University

We believe that biology is for everyone.

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Our Vision

Every moment of every day, we see, engage, and construct with biology. From gene editing with CRISPR in a lab to making yogurt under your kitchen counter, engineering with biology permeates all aspects of our lives. However, not everyone sees biology as around us, in us, and of us. The 21st century may be the century of biotechnology, but it is also the time when many do not feel empowered to engage. People have been disenfranchised from innovating with biology at a moment of crisis: climate change, pandemics, and global inequality afflict millions. 

But what if everyone could access the tools and knowledge to see, understand, and construct effective biological solutions to their own problems, in their own communities? What if biology was by and for everyone?

Our Goals

BIO4E is a postdoctoral research project led by Dr. Callie Chappell. Dr. Chappell and their team strive to advance biology for everyone (BIO4E) by: 

To realize our objectives, we are convening a diverse group of scientists, educators, academics, activists, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and artists to deliberate on a national strategy to advance biology for everyone (BIO4E). We are generating a report that summarizes their recommendations for the creation of LABraries and LABrarians. 

BIO4E has four guiding values: 

  1. Advancing Agency: By providing material and educational resources about biology: the science of life, BIO4E hopes to empower individuals to advance global flourishing. Centering biological learning in local settings, such as libraries or gardens, acknowledges biology as a collaborative process that requires connection between people, their communities, and the environment. 
  2. Changing the Culture: For everyone to feel empowered with biology, we need to expand what we consider biology to be. We must celebrate everything from the high-tech innovations to ancestral knowledge and even our own lived experiences as a part of biology. Creating a more inclusive intellectual culture will allow for a more holistic understanding of biology by incorporating many truths. 
  3. Embracing Everyone: Bringing in diverse perspectives from everyone, everywhere enriches the field of biology for all. By embracing everyone, biology can become a unifying front that advances flourishing for all. Through collective solidarity, Bio4E hopes to include our natural environment: planet Earth, so we can acknowledge our responsibilities as stewards of the Earth. 
  4. Building Bioethics: Biology is a tool that can be used for great purposes, but also for great harm. Therefore, Bio4E plans to advance a culture, curriculum, and infrastructure that ensures that biology is safe and secure. Unethical use of biology should be unthinkable. 

We envision LABraries that offer culturally/locally relevant workshops, collaboration with existing educational institutions, offering workforce training, and empowering entrepreneurship and local innovation. These images highlight existing LABrary programming at US community bio labs

 

 

Our Community

Biology, the science of life, has always been part of our families, communities and culture–whether we realize it or not. From spaces for land-based learning to community bio labs, “LABraries” exist all around us. The term “labraries” has been used for decades by libraries and STEM education leaders such as Dr. Natalie Kuldell of the BioBuilder Foundation. Our LABraries project is meant to support and inform existing and new efforts that advance biology for everyone. We hope our effort will help grow a LABrary ecosystem that empowers everyone to love biology.