Artists and entrepreneurs throughout the East Bay have grown increasingly fond of applying the "do-it-yourself" label to a wide variety of projects and organizations — so much so that the DIY stamp has become practically meaningless. But at Counter Culture Labs — Oakland's hub for DIY science — organizers earned the moniker. Now based out of Omni Commons in the Temescal district, Counter Culture Labs is a group of so-called "citizen scientists" — biotech professionals, hackers, and other experimenters — dedicated to science projects that aren't restricted by the traditional structures of universities and research labs. For Counter Culture Labs, DIY science means demystifying and democratizing technology and giving curious amateurs tools to create and execute their own unique experiments. This model has paved the way for the group to design all kinds of innovative projects, including engineering yeast cells to produce vegan cheese and identifying local mushroom species through DNA sequencing. As it expands its programs — which include free hands-on classes, meet-up events, and lectures — Counter Culture Labs is working to grow its network of DIY scientists by helping remind people that they don't need Ph.D. to do experiments.
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