This month’s featured tech entrepreneur is Danny Chan of Biotech Without Borders, a nonprofit in Queens that provides education, lab facilities and a forum for critical discussion to support responsible innovation in biotechnology.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your company?
Biotech Without Borders is a volunteer-run nonprofit providing low-cost lab space to work with biology, and a community structure for collaborative science.
This type of organization is called a community lab.
We believe that empowering more people to safely use these tools is a powerful method to increase scientific literacy, technological innovation, and community organizational capacity.
In addition to using our lab facilities, we invite our members to participate in decision-making and operations.
What is your latest project and why are you excited about it?
We are officially reopening the lab in Long Island City after closing our location in Downtown Brooklyn in 2020.
We have interests in microbial analysis of contaminated soils, barcoding fungi, bioart, and frugal enzyme manufacturing that I am eager to see produce data, inspire others, and build a collective know-how between members.
One of the projects I will prepare for this summer is in anticipation of interns from the NYC LifeSci program.
We will plan work with local and global collaborators in frugal enzyme manufacturing.
This project will expand our capacity to produce reagents for workshops while simultaneously helping collect data that allows low-resource labs around the world to produce reagents for themselves.
Why are you excited about the future of tech in Queens?
There is so much talent and diversity here.
There is a very real challenge in making material improvements in the local context while simultaneously ensuring the same in the global context.
I have a lot of optimism that organizations that embrace the power of difference in our diverse local communities are well-poised to collaborate with global initiatives that resonate with the same values.
In this respect, Queens embodies an incredible opportunity to learn from the histories and passions of its residents in order to inform the building of new technologies that can meet both local and global challenges that face us.
To learn more, visit biotechwithoutborders.org