Biomaker Bench - Community Biolab in Indiana

Ended on 9/19/13
Campaign Ended
  • $703
  • 21%
  • Finished
    on 9/19/13

About This Project

Wouldn’t it be remarkable if your 7 year old could do the work of a Nobel-prize winning scientist? Wouldn’t it be amazing if this could happen in your community? Wouldn’t it be extraordinary if this were the national standard for education? And wouldn't it be great if you could participate with them?

Ask the Scientists

Join The Discussion 〉

What is the context of this research?

Biomaker Bench will offer accessible STEM education by creating the first community lab in Noblesville, Indiana. The lab will be an open space for students, schools, hobbyists and community professionals to come and use lab equipment, participate in training workshops, and earn certifications.


•Bridges students and community members of non-technical fields to the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community.

•Removes barriers to entry for scientific education and exploration.

•Provides an infrastructure for educational research and technologies.
•Advances learning by safely engaging students in experiences that combine technical skills, scientific curiosity, teamwork and project management, with real-world opportunities.
•Facilitates educational outreach programs to K-12 students in collaboration with industrial partners.
•Provides opportunities for community involvement and interaction in secondary and undergraduate curriculum.
•Educates the community about the risks and rewards of synthetic biology.

What is the significance of this project?

Biomaker bench knows that STEM education needs to be improved and resources need to become more accessible. We will be the first community lab in Indiana, and will provide these opportunities in a central location with the support and participation of industry, universities, and K-12 schools.

The demand for a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education is on the rise. The United States must find a way to reverse the decreasing number of students who pursue a degree in one of these areas. Currently less than 15% of US college undergraduates are pursuing degrees in science or engineering compared to more than 30% of students in India and more than 40% in China. Today approximately 50% of jobs require some technology, and this number is expected to increase in the future. “Over the past 50 years, taxpayer investment science and mathematics education has indirectly produced more than half of the nation’s economic growth. Prominent economists agree that no other investment generates a greater long-term return to the economy than scientific R&D, and that starts with our educational systems.” If no action is taken the United States could fall behind our global competition.

STEM jobs are higher paying and add more value than traditional service jobs. The access that community labs provide will enable students and others to develop the ideas and entrepreneurial skills needed to create new STEM jobs.

What are the goals of the project?

$1,000 to apply for 501(c)3 status, which will help us raise funds in the future.

$1,000 to initially rent space.

$500 for a website and other media.

$1,000 for gas and supplies for the first workshops.


  • $1,000501(c)3 paperwork and filing
  • $1,000First month's rent
  • $500Website and media
  • $1,000Supplies for first workshop

We have retained a lawyer who will help us develop and submit the 501(c)3 paperwork. This will cost about $1000.

Another $1000 will allow us to rent space for the first month. After the first month we will charge a monthly per-user fee, charge fees for workshops, and seek donations for future rent.

Another $1000 will help us purchase the supplies needed for the first workshops.

$1,500 will help the Purdue iGEM Team develop their project in this space to serve as an anchor project for the community lab that will provide ideas and opportunities for primary, high school, and college students, and community members to work on and learn from.

About another $500 will be used for a website and media to document the development of our lab and show people learning and working in it - to show the excitement and the possibilities to the community.

Any excess funds will go right back into the lab as rent, equipment, supplies, or whatever else is most urgent.

Meet the Team

Peter Mercado
Peter Mercado


Purdue University, Biochemistry


Peter participated in the Science Bound program, which works with students in the Indianapolis Public School system to encourage them to pursue science, technology, engineering and math careers. “Science Bound was a wonderful experience, a life-changing experience. It really has shaped my life,” he says. That drew him to campus most summers, as well as in between. Read more about Peter here.