Stop by Venture Cafe throughout the evening of May 5th between 3:00-8:00 p.m. and catch a quick tour of our new exhibition in Quorum - Biostory: by Genefer Baxter and Marco Locatelli.
Recent events have uncovered doubt and in some cases, bred mistrust in the scientific community. Uncertainty around how biological data is handled and how scientific research is conducted continues to contribute to this divide.
Biostory is a two-part installation that explores how scientists and everyday people might better collaborate on finding cures for the most challenging diseases in the future as well as an homage to the beauty of our innate ability for self-healing.
Your “biostory” is a narrative told through biometric data, specifically coming from the immune system. Using a custom software program, the artists have visually rendered 10 biostories comprised of the sequenced mRNA from the immune response of anonymous donors who contracted the COVID-19 virus.
As one encounters foreign bacteria, viruses, or antigens, the immune system is continuously creating a defensive force in the form of antibodies for protection. This innate reaction is the foundation for potential cures. That means that each one of us could hold the key to exterminating some of the most deadly diseases plaguing humanity within our own biostories.
What if we could efficiently gather a vast amount of unique immune responses, drastically increasing the data available to researchers, all in hopes of discovering the cures for diseases like COVID-19 faster?
The Biolog is a speculative virtual biobank where scientists work together with donors to conduct research on the immune system.
If a person suspects that they have suffered a listed illness, they can send a blood sample to Biolog, effectively aiding scientists in their research while their data remains safe and anonymous. Built on the blockchain, the platform sends a notification to contributors to help them keep track of when their sample is used and for what purpose. Each sample is sequenced and minted as a non-fungible token (NFT), and donors are then compensated for their contributions if utilized in a study.
By incentivizing everyday citizens to engage in scientific discovery, the Biolog biobank results in a vibrant sample pool for scientists to access in a way that is trustworthy, open-source, and beneficial to all parties.
Biological data is not simply letters and numbers but comes from real people with hopes, dreams, and emotions and should be respected. Although the Biolog bank may not be the ultimate solution for collaborating in the future, we hope with this project to spark a conversation on how we might collectively solve our biggest scientific challenges?