Mission and History

Biotech Without Borders is a non-profit 501(c)(3) public charity dedicated to promoting the practice of biotechnology for useful and peaceful purposes in order to benefit humankind and the planet.  It was founded in 2017 by Dr. Ellen Jorgensen, cofounder and former Director of Genspace,  to continue and expand her work in democratizing biotechnology. 

We believe that engaging the end users- all of us- in biotech through actual participation is the best way to ensure a greater future for us all.  Shouldn't something this valuable be practiced worldwide, by the most diverse array of practitioners? An important part of our mission is to enable the hands-on practice of biotechnology by communities, groups and countries hitherto underrepresented in the biotech research landscape. We feel this is vital not only to ensure more responsible innovation, but to prevent a societal rift developing between the haves and have-nots.

We focus on three areas:

1) providing lab space at our Brooklyn Biosafety Level 1 facility, access to free or discounted supplies, and mentorship to support local public high school science teachers and their students.

2) distributing resources to labs across the world. We curate and distribute best practices & protocols, act as a node in Bionet (a DNA shared distribution service), and help new labs emerge.

3) engaging the public through classes, talks, workshops and public forums.