New York City's Community Biolab


Our Mission

Genspace is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting citizen science and access to biotechnology. Since 2009 we have served the greater New York area by providing educational outreach, cultural events, and a platform for science innovation at the grassroots level.

In December 2010 we opened the first-ever community biotechnology laboratory, a Biosafety Level One facility in Brooklyn, New York, where we offer hands-on courses to the public, provide extracurricular experiences for students, and encourage scientific entrepreneurship, particularly in the fields of molecular and synthetic biology. As a community-based lab, we offer members the unique opportunity to work on their own projects and experience the joy and wonder of science firsthand.

A Nursery for Explorers and Entrepreneurs

Genspace was founded by a group of science enthusiasts who come from different professions - artists, engineers, writers, and biologists. Unlike traditional institutions, our diversity is our strength and the source of our innovation. For a reasonable monthly cost, members can pursue a wide variety of biotechnology-related projects that can be commercial, artistic, or just fun.

Adult Education and Outreach 

The best way to inform the dialogue about 21st-century science is to have the stakeholders understand it from a hands-on perspective. To that end, we offer biotech classes to people with no prior lab training. Taught by members with doctoral level expertise, we provide an immersive experience that no lecture course can match. Genspace also hosts a variety of talks, workshops, and cultural events throughout the year. Audience participation is encouraged. Recent events have allowed visitors to explore their own microbial biome, learn bioinformatics and create their own slime mold art pieces. For more information about Genspace courses, workshops, and lectures, visit our events page. 

Lab Memberships

At Genspace, anyone can work in a biotech lab on a project of their own choosing. For $100 per month, you get 24/7 access to Genspace's lab facility, equipment, and volunteer staff. We provide many common supplies, such as gloves, petri dishes, and pipette tips. You are responsible for raising the funding for any exotic reagents or equipment for your project, which can be anything biological as long as it meets our Biosafety Level 1 guidelines. If you don't have a project in mind but just want to check out what it's like to work in a biotech lab, we have several group projects that you can contribute to while sharpening your lab skills.

If you are interested in becoming a Lab Member, give us a call at (516) 200-6537 or send us an email at detailing what you would like to work on at Genspace.

Science Education for Young People

New York City schools have limited funding for science - especially in underserved communities. Genspace has several initiatives designed to meet this need. Genspace partners with local programs (such as the Urban Barcoding Project) to provide extramural learning opportunities for New York school children at the high school level. For older students, we host local undergraduates who are competing in synthetic biology competitions. Some of our off-site events have included booths and workshops at the US Science and Engineering Fair Fair, Family Science Day at the AAAS International Exhibition, and World Maker Faire.


Genspace members all receive safety training and only work with Biosafety Level One organisms (see our safety page). Our external Science Advisory Board, composed of distinguished experts in biosafety, microbiology, synthetic and molecular biology provides scientific, safety, and regulatory guidance for all our projects.

Board Of Directors

Ellen Jorgensen (cofounder)

Nurit Bar-Shai (cofounder)

Oliver Medvedik (cofounder)

Daniel Grushkin (cofounder)

Thomas Knight

Kathy High

Jonathan Badal

Mark Merrill

Genspace Staff

Executive Director: Ellen Jorgensen, Ph.D. 
Laboratory Manager: William Shindel
Community Manager: Alison Irvine