Main Page

From Hackuarium
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Welcome to the wiki of the Hackuarium association, an open public lab, which wishes to democratise research!

At Hackuarium, we want to bring biology (and biologists) to the world, and the real world back to biology. Our laboratory is an excuse to meet and discuss, build and develop ideas in a neutral, open, noncompetitive and not-for-profit environment.

This page was launched during our 1st Ever Hackuarium Wiki Sprint that took place on 7 December 2014. As you might notice quickly, almost everything here is work-in-progress.

Scroll down and find out what this is all about!

Cliquez ici pour accéder à la version française de ce wiki.

BIG NEWS: Hackuarium has moved to a new location, and our P1 lab is again official!
The new address is Route de Crochy 20, 1024 Ecublens

Everyone is welcome to our weekly Open Hackuarium meetings, continuing every Wednesday, 19:00-22:00!
Our Big Lab Warming Party was on the 12th of June 2019!

Check the list below for upcoming events

Hackuarium Poster (Not-for-printing version!!! see Section 7.9 Visual Identity for full size printing version)

What is DIYbio?

DIYbio (Do-It-Yourself biology) is a movement that wants to free the practice of biological research and innovation from the institutional and industrial laboratories. Pursued both by amateurs and professional biologists, DIYbio is developing low-cost and low-tech solutions to problems identified by the community.

The movement is characterised by an extremely diverse set of practices and participants. Some call themselves 'biohackers', in reference to the hacker culture. The quick solution (even if unconventional) is what is meant by hacks... and are the portals of the international and european communities, respectively.

For more information, visit the Wikipedia page dedicated to DIYbio.

We actually believe more and more in doing DIT (Do-It-Together) Science, not just 'DIYbio,' as it reflects better the scope of the trans-disciplinary projects we do (often not only biology).

What is Hackuarium?

Hackuarium is a not-for-profit association aiming to democratise science through public engagement.

Our laboratories in Ecublens (Switzerland) are open to anyone sharing the values of the association and dedicated to follow the DIYbio Europe ethical guidelines.

Our projects are initiated and carried out by scientists and non-scientists from a variety of backgrounds. They are passionate about tinkering with biology in particular, and technology in general. Some are engineers, architects, designers, IT and computer scientists or retired professionals, but others have no scientific education. They are mostly citizens interested in open and participatory research and innovation, outside the constraints of traditional institutions.

Hackuarium members want to investigate new ways of carrying out interdisciplinary research and innovation, by making their results open, accessible (low-cost), simple and easily reproducible (low-tech) and by promoting an open source philosophy.

And if you are curious where the name comes from, take a look here.

Where are we located?

Route de Crochy 20, CH-1024 Écublens, Switzerland (Ouest lausannois, m1 Crochy)

The overall map of the new space is shown to the right, with the new Hackuarium located primary in two rooms (marked with our little purple open science octopus logo).

map of the space

The biolab is located in a south facing room of over 22m2, with three windows and a linoleum floor.
We also have a so-called 'inner sanctum' without windows, that is mainly for electronics and chemistry work, but can also be used for some biology studies, especially higher resolution microscopy (with a Raspberry Pi camera on the old Zeiss scope) and bioluminescence studies, but growth of cultures is not allowed in this space.
(there is a carpet!)
There are also other Hackuarium 'assets' around the corner from the biolab, shown as purple rectangles on the map and including the sterile hood and the ultracentrifuge. A closet also contains a great deal of consumables and other labware. (We welcome project ideas that will use some of this! :)
To note: this building is really only a provisional space, as it is destined for destruction in the next 3-5 years!
We will continue to look for a more permanent space, while developing our community further and promoting Open Science!

For some History:
Hackuarium found its new home (yay!) after being generously hosted for four years in infrastructures provided by UniverCité, an unconventional innovation hub that opened in May 2014 in the "Ateliers" in Renens (formerly IRL building). Our equipment is mostly upcycled material from institutions and industries from western Switzerland. We have documented our working environment as it has evolved. For almost 6 months, our big hoods and other equipment were in storage, ready to be moved into our new lab space, a happy event begun the 1st of February 2019!

Between December 2015 and January 2017, UniverCité regrouped our laboratory, a workshop and coworking space. The floor where we originally moved in 2014 required some refurbishing and was under construction work from January until June 2017; and we temporarily relocated on the first floor of the same building. Since July 2017, we have been back on the second floor of what is now called the "Ateliers de Renens" Chemin du Closel 5, 1020 Renens. The original plan in the renovated space was to have a biohackerspace on one side, with a 'pro' lab space on the other, and a shared biosafety level 1 laboratory in between. The community lab idea for UC, however, has now been given over to primarily startup and co-working hosting.


When Hackuarium was asked to pay rent as if it were already a startup with a successful business plan, the members decided during an extraordinary general assembly meeting (on 12 September 2018), that we would have to look for a new place to set-up our biohacker space and P1 lab, with enough room to allow further growth and exciting collaborations. A cooperative (Space Alliance Coopérative) with two other associations (Octanis & Polymeka) and a few other startups came together to look for a new place to call home and provide space for everyone's projects and work. Our first activities in the new spaces started in February 2019. Our biolab and inner sanctum for electronics and imagerie and more are already facilitating project experiments, with more fun in the pipeline with our coop colleagues, like Sam and Raffael from Octanis, who were also early members of Hackuarium.

Who are we?

Our members reflect the diversity that is in and around the Lausanne area.

Check us out, and find out what makes Hackuarium a good mix.


The current committee was elected during our annual general assembly meeting and duties for each person have been assigned:
For 2019, it is composed of the following people:

  • President: Rachel Aronoff (also Citizen Science coordinator and Biosafety Officer)
  • Secretary and System Administrator: Yann Heurtaux
  • Treasurer: Masoud Alipour
  • Deputy Biosafety Officer and Communications Coordinator: Olivier Emery
  • Art and Science coordinator: Vanessa Lorenzo
  • Talent scout and evangelist for Academy: Anne-Laure Pittet
  • Community Happiness Coordinator: Esther Calderon
  • Link to the communes of the region of East Lausanne: Joël Christen

The Agenda of the next board meeting can be found here.
The Agenda of the last meeting, can be found here.

Members and Membership

Do you have a project in mind? Do you just want to support us?

Hackuarium operates on a membership basis, even though all events are open to anyone, including non-members.

The monthly membership fee is 20 CHF. It gives 24/7 access to the lab.

We would love to have you as a member! Just follow the instructions below.

Want to join?

  • We have a form on the website, to fast-track joining the community, if you are keen, perhaps after a few #OpenHackuarium experiences (every Wednesday evening is open to the public).
  • Read some helpful info here.
  • Write an email to and give us a short description of:
    • Yourself, your interests, your background
    • What you would like to learn or do at Hackuarium

Friends of Hackuarium

We would like to thank the Foundation Inartis for hosting our activities in Renens for the past four years (2014-2018)


  • UniverCité
  • FabLab Onl'fait, Genève
  • OSS Paris
  • La Paillasse, Paris
  • Paillasse Saône, Lyon
  • The BioFoundry, Sydney
  • Bioquisitive, Melbourne
  • Projects:

  • Octanis
  • Hybridoa
  • Apéro Sciences
  • AGiR!
  • Exodes Urbains
  • EchOpen

  • Events

    Our lab and space are open to the public. Please come and have a chat! And if you have any project ideas or questions get in touch!

    OpenHackuarium: Every Wednesday, 19:00-22:00

    You want to organise an event at Hackuarium, or with the Hackuarium community? We have guidelines below.

    Upcoming Hackuarium Events


  • 2019.10.05 Hackuarium 5 year birthday party. Don't miss this incredible opportunity to celebrate five years of DIYbio (or DIT) in Lausanne. More coming soon!

  • or follow our google calendar

    Other Upcoming Events


  • 2019.09.19-20 Wednesday 19:00-21:30: Rachel will give a short talk on 'La recherche participative pour la santé publique' in Bienne during SciComm19, a science communication conférence.
  • 2019.08.24 Saturday 14:00-16:00: Manon Briod organises a conference "Futur âge de pierre - perspectives de la biofabrication" in Eglise Saint-François in Lausanne. Talks by Maurizio Montalti (Officina Corpuscoli) and Dimitrios Terzis (Medusoil). More information here.
  • 2019.06.15-10.18 The sculptures Manon Briod experimented with at Hackuarium are on display in Eglise Saint-François in Lausanne in the context of Lausanne Jardin.
  • 2019.05.20-22 Don't miss the festival Pint of Science Lausanne 2019 in Lausanne.
  • 2019.05.15 Yann Heurtaux is pitching Hackuarium and Dans la Drêche on stage at the Good Brand Summit. Let him know if you wish to join. 50% Off Discount Code available on slack.
  • Past Hackuarium Events

    You can find the complete list of our past events here.

    Event Organisation

    You want to organise an event? Go for it!

    Just follow these instructions.


    Here, you will find the projects going on at Hackuarium.

    Active Projects

    Archived Projects

    Practical Information

    Rules at Hackuarium

    We have very few rules at Hackuarium. The goal of the association is to provide freedom to its members, so they can explore beyond what is allowed elsewhere. However, we want members and anyone participating in our activities to feel comfortable and respected.

    This page describes the code of conduct for Hackuarium members.

    Use of the Biolab (P1 lab=Biosafety Level 1 experiments possible)

    As of November 2017, Hackuarium was officially hosting its own P1 laboratory. While we still lacked some essential infrastructure (-80 freezer, ventilated fume hood), we were (and still are!) working on it... More can be found out about use of that previous facility by following the next link... P1 Lab Activities However, the new space in Ecublens has even more challenges, with the sterile hood not even fitting in the doors (or windows even) of the Biolab! So, while we indeed hoped to again qualify as an official P1, we were not yet sure intil 6June2019, when a visitor from Bern (mandataire from BAFU) came to the lab to inspect everything, and ended up telling us to go on ahead and work (after admin details sorted - address change with BAFU)! What great news!
    The Biolab Use and Safety page specifies equipment and standard operating procedures in the lab in the context of the cooperative in Ecublens.
    12 members have already done the intro to biosecurity (but not all have yet signed their waivers!) and will have 24/7 access to the lab.
    Interested in developing a project with us?
    We look forward to seeing you there!


    Many protocols that we use at Hackuarium will be found here (work in progress). They are detailed and structured so that the main focus is on applications. The idea is to give crucial information on how to apply the most common techniques of the Biology toolbox. The protocols are structured as follow:

  • A scheme describing each
  • A brief description of the protocol and its use
  • A description of the different ways of carrying out the protocol. Ideally there should be a description of a commercial kit and a DIY kit.
  • A description of the safety issues and best practice
  • Information specific to Hackuarium and where to find the components, tools and reagents.
  • Consumables in stock

    You can check online the [consumables in stock].

    Instruments available

    This page describes all the instruments available at Hackuarium (work in progress..), their location and how to use them.

    A list of instruments we still need

    This on-line document contains a list of instruments, tools and consumables we are looking for generally. We could also greatly use an ordinary dissecting scope (binocular loupe) with non-heating illumination for manipulations of microbes of all sorts (i.e. for the Moss Menageries). We have a standard donation contract (contrat de donation, in French) and if your organisation happens to want to discard a piece of equipment we are (or may be) looking for, contact us!

    Where we shop

    As a general rule, we do not buy anything. We try to recycle, upcycle, bicycle, epicycle anything we can, or ask around if anyone can provide supplies for free.

    In some cases it does not work out, and so these are the place where we can find what we need.

    In any case, Please contact a member of the Board, if you need to order anything in the name of Hackuarium.

    Labware and Reagents

    Consumables and some chemicals can be purchased from Huber Lab.
    More chemicals can be obtained from Carl Roth.
    If necessary, other chemicals and biochemicals can be obtained from Sigma Aldrich.
    Molecular biology tools can be purchased from Qiagen.

    Swiss-based Smiples has a very extensive listing of second hand laboratory and technical items. These can be bought from their online shop or from Ricardo.
    But most laboratory hardware can be obtained from our network of friends and partners. Get in touch with Luc Henry if you need anything specific and we'll do our best to find it.


    Algae, protozoa, aquatic life and educational kits: | Sciento
    Bacteria, global biosource center (Hackuarium has a customer account, shop through our Biosecurity manager): | ATCC is another source, much less expensive than ATCC for (for instance) the rhizobial bacterial strain!


    Options for electronic parts:

    How to build a new project page on our Wiki

    If you want to start or edit a project page on Hackuarium's wiki, please follow these instructions.

    Reading List

    The DIY biology / Biohacking movement

  • Biohackers. The politics of open science by Alessandro Delfanti (2013) London: Pluto Press (A review of the book by Luc Henry)
  • DIY-Bio – economic, epistemological and ethical implications and ambivalences by Jozef Keulartz and Henk van den Belt (2016) Life Sciences, Society and Policy
  • Biohacking everything you need to know about diy biology, (Accessed 05.2016)
  • Genspace gets funding, PRNewswire, (Accessed 05.2016)
  • Learn from DIY biologists, Todd Kuiken, Nature, (Accessed 05.2016)

    And a much more complete list by Massimiliano Simons, KU Leuven:

  • Akst, Jef (2013), The Rebirth of DIYbio, The Scientist
  • Austen, Kat (2013) Out of the lab and onto the streets, New Scientist
  • Baker, Beth (2015) DIYbio - Alternative Career Path for Biologists? , BioScience 65 (1): 112
  • Bennett, Gaymon, Gilman, Nils, Stavrianakis, Anthony and Rabinow, Paul (2009) From synthetic biology to biohacking: are we prepared?, Nature Biotechnology 27, 1109 - 1111
  • Brian J. Gorman, J. (2011) Office as Biosecurity Gatekeeper: Fosering Responsible Science and Building Public Trust in DIY Science, Marshall Rev. Intell. Prop. L. 423
  • Buiani, Roberta (2015) Biolab-on-Wheels: finding a space for a DIY bio lab in Toronto, Journal of Mobile Media
  • Charisius, Hanno & Friebe, Richard & Karberg, Sascha -
  • Curry, Helen Anne (2013) From garden biotech to garage biotech: amateur experimental biology in historical perspective
  • Davies, Sarah R. & Karin Tybjerg & Louise Whiteley & Thomas Söderqvist (2015) Co-curation as hacking: biohackers in Copenhagen's Medical Museion
  • Delfanti, Alessandro (2012) Tweaking genes in your garage: biohacking between activism and entrepreneurship
  • Delfanti, Alessandro (2014) Is Do-it-Yourself Biology Being Co-opted by Institutions?
  • Delfanti, Alessandro (2017) Distributed biotechnology
  • Delfanti, Alessandro (2011) Hacking genomes. The ethics of open and rebel biology
  • Delgado, Ana - DIYbio: Making things and making futures
  • Editorial - Empowering citizen scientists
  • Eggleson, Kathleen - Transatlantic Divergences in Citizen Science Ethics - Comparative Analysis of the DIYbio Code of Ethics Drafts of 2011
  • Gewin, Virginia - Independent streak
  • Golinelli, Stefano & Guido Ruivenkamp - Do-it-yourself biology: Action research within the life sciences
  • Grushkin, D., Kuiken, T., Millet, P - Seven Myths & Realities about Do-It-Yourself Biology
  • Grushkin, Daniel - Am I a biohazard?
  • Holloway, Dustin - Regulating Amateurs
  • Jefferson, Chaterine - Governing Amateur Biology: Extending Respnonsible Research and Innovation in Synthetic Biology to New Actors
  • Kean, Sam - A Lab of Their Own
  • Kelty, Christopher - Outlaw, hackers, victorian amateurs: diagnosing publich participation in the life sciences today
  • Kera, Denisa - Hackerspaces and DIYbio in Asia: connecting science and community with open data, kits and protocols
  • Kera, Denisa - Innovation regimes based on collaborative and global tinkering: Synthetic biology and nanotechnology in the hackerspaces
  • Kuiken, Todd - DIYbio: Low Risk, High Potential
  • Kuiken, Todd - Learn from Do-It-Yourself Biologists
  • Kuznetsov, Stacey - Expanding Our Visions of Citizen Science
  • Kuznetsov, Stacey & Alex Taylor & Tim Regan & Nicolas Villar & Eric Paulos - At the seams: DIYbio and opportunities for HCI
  • Kuznetsov, Stacey & Carrie Doonan & Nathan Wilson & Swarna Mohan & Scott E. Hudson & Eric Paulson - DIYbio Things: Open Source Biology Tools as Platforms fo rHybrid Knowledge Production and Scientific Participation
  • Landrain, Thomas & Meyer, Morgan & Perez, Ariel Martin & Sussan, Remi - Do-it-yourself biology: challenges and promises for an open science and technology movement
  • Lisa Z. Scheifele & Thomas Burkett - The First Three Years of a Community Lab: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward
  • McKenna, Phil - Rise of the garage genome hackers
  • Meyer, Morgan - Build your own lab
  • Meyer, Morgan - Domesticating and democratizing science: a geography of do-it-yourself biology
  • Meyer, Morgan - Hacking Life? The Politics and Poetics of DIY Biology
  • Meyer, Morgan - Bricoler, domestiquer et contourner la science
  • Nascimento, Susana & Angela Guimaraes Pereira & Alessia Ghezzi - From Citizen Science to Do It Yourself Science
  • NSABB - Strategies to Educate Amateur Biologists and Scientists in Non-life Science Disciplines About Dual use Research in the Life Science
  • Schmidt, Markus - Diffusion of synthetic biology
  • Scudellari, Megan - Biology Hacklabs
  • Seyfried, Günter & Pei, Lei & Schmidt, Markus - European do-it-yourself (DIY) biology: Beyond the hope, hype and horror
  • Sholette, Gregory - Disciplining the avant-garde: The United States versus the Critical Art Ensemble
  • Sipra Bihani & Michael Hartman & Florian Sobiegalla & Amanda rosenberg - Comparing network strutures of commercial and non-commercial biohacking online-communities
  • Söderberg, Johan & Delfanti, Alessandro - Hacking Hacked! The Life Cycles of Digital Innovation
  • Söderberg, Johan & Delfanti, Alessandro - Repurposing the hacker. Three temporalities of recuperation
  • Tocchetti, Sara - DIYbiologists as 'Makers' of Personal Biologies
  • Tocchetti, Sara - What kind of work we are doing now and what kind of work we want to do
  • Tocchetti, Sara & Sara Angeli Aguiton - Is an FBI Agent an DIY Biologist Like Any Oter? A Cultural Analysis of a Biosecurity Risk
  • Trojok, Rüdiger - Biohacking: Gentechnologie für Alle
  • van Boheemen, Pieter & Huib de Vriend - Do-it-yourself biology: Een verkenning van ontwikkelingen in Nederland
  • Wohlsen, Marcus - Biopunk: Solving Biotech's Biggest Problems in Kitchens and Garages

    Open Hardware

  • Open-hardware, pioneers push for low-cost lab kit by Elizabeth Gibney, Nature, (Accessed 05.2016)
  • Appropedia a source of DIY instruments builds, Dr. Joshua Pearce, (Accessed 05.2016)
  • The PCB milling machine, Open Hardware Repository, (Accessed 05.2016)
  •, Sensory network on a roll of tape, Filip Visnjic, (Accessed 05.2016)
  • RedEye Oxygen Sensing Patches, Ocean Optics, (Accessed 05.2016)


  • Rainbow wasp nests, Mattia Menchetti, (Accessed 05.2016)
  • Dirty beats making music with bacteria, Interspecifics(Accessed 05.2016)
    More1, More2, More3


  • The new tree of life TED (Accessed 05.2016)
  • Rethinking work, Yann Heurtaux, (Accessed 05.2016)
  • That plastic bottle cutter, Pavel & Ian, (Accessed 05.2016)

    Open Source

  • Results held hostage, Francesco Mondada, (Accessed 05.2016)

    Visual Identity

    Media and Press

    Please check our Press kit out. It includes a prototype Press review of most of our media appearances over the years.

    EU Paperwork

    We now have an identification number aka Participant Identification Code (PIC) from the European Participant Portal for any Horizon 2020 application. The Hackuarium PIC number is 907732306. It can be verified on the official search engine.


    Do you want to contribute to making Hackuarium a diverse and lively community? Check out our wanted lists:

  • Skills
  • Ideas
  • Equipment
  • Consumables