Skyline College Alumni Tram Lu and Pricsilla Sanches along with Professor Nick Kapp attended a talk by Dr. Josiah Zayner at Laney College on February 13, 2020. Skyline College and Laney College are part of the San Francisco Bay region student chapter of the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA). The PDA is a professional organization that connects people, science and regulation of the manufacturing and marketing of parenteral drugs. As a regional club, Skyline College students attend activities off-campus as well as meet and connect with other students and professionals in the Bay Area. The West Coast Chapter of the PDA sponsors these events.
Dr. Josiah Zayner is a biohacker and was featured in the Netflix movie Unnatural Selection. He developed a kit for his company, The Odin, where anyone can practice clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) at home. He feels that to really understand this science, people must be knowledgeable of the procedures as well as its practice. To that end, he started a company that sells home lab kits to teach buyers about CRISPR and gene editing. This technology is so new that the government is still trying to respond to how it should be regulated since recently California has made it illegal to sell a DIY genetic engineering kit unless it comes with a clear warning that “the kit is not for self-administration.”
Currently, there are a few thousand people working in the gene editing field. Dr. Zayner’s unconventional product’s overall goal is to attract more people to this field and to increase the possibility of gaining more breakthroughs for curing serious diseases.
Article and Photo by Nick Kapp