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Biotech Without Borders

We are a self-sustaining community of scientists based in NYC committed to increasing the accessibility of scientific resources and knowledge, especially among socially and economically marginalized groups. We aim to bring upon a world where all those seeking to improve society through biotechnology are connected to local and global networks of community scientists, organized to Do-It-Together, and empowered to safely apply their hands-on understanding at the lab bench and at home

Who are we?

Biotech Without Borders is an all-volunteer, member-led, community lab with 501(c)(3) status in the USA. We were founded in 2017 by Dr. Ellen Jorgensen after she stepped down as Director of Genspace to continue her work democratizing biotechnology. To achieve this end, our lab is engaged in an ongoing process to steward a shared lab space in New York City. Members are invited to shape the lab for their individual and/or group projects by finding consensus among each other using a cooperative decision making software called Loomio. We commit to exercising tact and bravery in articulating dissent with the assumptions that we all inevitably bring to our work. In the spirit of resilience, we discuss these points of conflict and adapt to our revised understanding.

What are our shared values?

We believe that we all have the capacity to be community scientists. Whether we possess skills in research science or other skills, our efforts contribute to sustaining the organization. We strive to see ourselves as both a teacher and a student, accepting the responsibilities of each role in order to build scientific capacity within our community. When we work together, we commit to engaging multiple perspectives, crediting each other’s contributions, and respecting each other’s expertise. We are a community based in mutual support and continuous learning.

At the bench and within the scientific literature we seek a practical understanding of biotechnology, its risks, and its benefits. We commit to encouraging peaceful applications while discouraging applications that exacerbate inequality and violence, or are deemed to be unsafe by our community. We believe that transparency in our organizational process as well as in our scientific work is a vital means to expose power structures, elicit engagement, and ensure accountability.

How can you get involved?

If you want to participate in our collective you can join our Loomio group and begin to meet our members and extended community. You can also join our public Matrix room and chat with us. Biotech Without Borders is only possible with the labour of our volunteers who work on all aspects of our organization. If you have a project you wish to collaborate on that aligns with our Mission Vision and Values, do not hesitate to reach out. We may be able to fiscally host your project. If you desire to have a greater role in shaping the lab/organization and have full access to the physical and digital resources we steward, then we would be happy to onboard you as a member.

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