Monash University science undergraduate student Andrew Gray with some samples of bacteria at his laboratory in Brunswick. 28 July 2016. The Age NEWS. Photo: Eddie Jim.
Always felt a little bit like you’d like to write your own lab manual in biology class? Or do you think you might have a Biotech start-up floating around in your entrepreneur mind? Maybe you can explore all that at BioQuisitive!
We chat to our very own science student Andrew Gray about his amazing project.
- Tell us a bit about yourself!
Hey, my name is Andrew Gray, I’m 31 years old, a third year undergraduate student at Monash University studying Molecular Biology and Biochemistry currently enrolled in the Science Advanced (Global Challenges) course. I’m originally from the US and moved to Australia with my mom and two brothers back in 2000 when Mom remarried to a Tasmanian winemaker. I’m a US Military Vet and Monash’s Entrepreneurship Ambassador for Science. I’m also a Director and a Co-founder for BioQuisitive.
- What is Bioquistive and what does it involve?
BioQuisitive is a community laboratory. You could think of it as a “gym for science” or a science co-working space. Members from our community, BioHack Melbourne, banded together, created a company, rented and renovated a space in Brunswick to meet the PC1 requirements set out by the OGTR, and filled it with donated and salvaged equipment from universities and research organisations. Its purpose is to provide people from interested citizens, students, professionals in academia and industry, as well as entrepreneurs, a place to engage in the life sciences outside of the formal settings. In effect we’re trying to democratise the access to science. Members sign up for a monthly membership and gain supervised access to the lab. Through their time at the lab, they explore their interests, become empowered, network, collaborate, and more. In the lab we do all kinds of things involving microbiology, molecular biology, botany, genetics, and even help out researchers locally or overseas with their projects.
- What’s your role in Bioquisitive?
As the co-founder and one of the directors for BioQuisitive, my role is to ensure that we stay on track with the vision and engage stakeholders to discover new opportunities. As we’re a community laboratory, we involve members in most of the decisions so I’ve been able to take a bit of the load off my shoulders through the help and support of our members who always have great ideas on how to tackle the challenges we face.
- What made you want to create/get involved with Bioquisitive?
BioQuisitive came out of an intersection of a few different streams of thought but really I just thought it would be cool if we could get more hands on experience in science. I saw other people around the world doing similar things and was blown away when I found out Melbourne had nothing similar going on seeing as it’s the Biotech hub for Australia.
- What is your favourite thing about Bioquisitive? What’s your least favourite?
My favourite thing about BioQuisitive is the members. Normally you don’t think a paying member would want to help out that much with the operation of the service they’re using. Many of our members have been with us from day one, they’ve been a part of the journey, they’re emotionally invested and want to see this work. BioQuisitive couldn’t have gotten to where we are without them. Recently a lot of them volunteered their afternoon in the freezing Melbourne winter to swab around public transport stations for the global metasub project looking at microbiomes of public transport systems around the world (metasub.org).
My least favourite thing about BioQuisitive is the paperwork, not what I had signed up for but essential!
That’s it folks! I hope you’re feeling inspired to go out and do some life science!
For more information about BioQuisitive, be sure to check out the links below:
Photo credit: Eddie Jim