At Amino Labs, our mission is to make biotechnology learning and skill building accessible to students of all backgrounds and levels of expertise.

We believe that biotechnology has the potential to revolutionize many fields, and that every student should have the opportunity to learn and engage with these technologies.

Every day, new advances in biotechnology and genetics reshape our society and economy.

Biotechnology helps us create sustainable, climate-resistant food and energy, new materials, innovative medicines, and much more. The biotechnology industry impacts billions of lives every year and is a cornerstone of our civilization. Yet, only a small fraction of the population understands what it is. We want to change that.

At Amino Labs, our mission is to empower the next generation by making biotechnology engaging and accessible. We know this will help them better navigate the future and become the innovators that help solve some of our most pressing global problems.

Currently, most science equipment is designed for trained professionals. That's why we develop hands-on biology kits, free learning software, easy-to-use science laboratory equipment, and curriculum-aligned learning resources so that any educators, parents, makers and kids 12+ can learn genetic engineering and biotechnology. Our biology kits and laboratory equipment work at-home and also in classroom settings. We also offer a wide variety of free STEM teaching resources for educators.

By starting with our best-selling book, Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero, anyone can discover how most medicine, food, and modern materials are made. We paired the book with fun, safe experiment so you can learn for yourself how to genetically engineer microorganisms, create living art, biomanufacture products, control genes, and much more — no prior knowledge necessary!

Our hands-on activities and extra teaching resources make it easy for students to gain practical experience with biotechnology techniques, and our program prepares them for the jobs of the future while fostering a love of science and technology.

We are committed to providing quality STEM education that is engaging, accessible, and relevant to the needs of the 21st century. Our goal is to inspire a new generation of scientists and innovators, who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to make a positive impact on the world.

Thank you for joining us on this journey towards a brighter future through biotechnology education.

Julie Legault, CEO
Amino Labs 🧬

The story of Amino Labs starts at M.I.T.

when designer Julie decided to explore how to make the world of biotechnology accessible to non-scientist for her thesis.

In 2015, Julie founded Amino Labs and enlisted the help of biotech expert Dr. Justin Pahara.

With the help of friends from Montreal, Toronto, Boston, the first units were made and tested with real users from around the world

so that eventually, Amino Labs was ready to be in your home...

With the build-test-iterate product development cycle we still use to this day, Amino Labs learned a lot from users around the world, and turned these learnings into products for you.

and we're in your classrooms too!

Through our innovative education programs and user-friendly products, we empower expert biotechnology teachers, new-to-biotechnology teachers, camp leaders, and after school program coordinators to bring biotechnology education to their students with ease.

Today, we help students understand and use biotechnology to solve some of humanity's biggest challenges.

Amino Labs was founded by designer Julie Legault, based on her graduate thesis research conducted at the MIT Media Lab in 2013-15, and by Cambridge University scientist Justin Pahara.

It all started when, as a graduate student at the Media lab, Julie attended a a kitchen "biohacking" event, during which Justin showed a small group of people how to create DNA programs and genetically engineer organisms with it. Following this amazing experience, Julie wanted to replicate the experience on her own and apply it to her research.

After experiencing the difficulties of learning synthetic biology and genetic engineering from textbooks, online materials and available products — and feeling unprepared for traditional life sciences labs — Julie created the first version of the DNA Playground, then-called the the Amino One with the goal of allowing beginners to learn biotechnology safely, in their own space and at their own pace.

After graduation, Julie founded a company and enlisted the help of biotechnology expert Dr. Justin Pahara, who had taught the original workshop Julie attended. Together, they brought science, entrepreneurship and human-centered design to Amino Labs. Amino Labs collaborated with friends and colleagues from Montreal, Toronto, and Boston to take the original design prototypes and schematics to the next level thanks to a fast "buildtestand iterate" cycle that included lots of testing with real users from around the world.  

In the fall of 2015, Amino Labs was kickstarted thanks to help from the Shuttleworth Foundation, MIT's E14 Fund, and SOSV's Indie Bio accelerator, as well as immense support from an early crowdfunding campaign. This early period is what allowed us to refine the Amino One and test it out with many different people. From her first experience with biotechnology, Julie wanted to bring application-based learning to genetic engineering; from engineering smells and pigments to developing new kinds of biomaterials, Amino Labs aims to inspire new enthusiasts to make with biology.

Through our journey, we have learned a lot, and turned these learnings into products for you: biology experiments kits, easy-to-use laboratory equipment and resources like the Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Book. With the DNA Playground, experiment kits, and illustrated instruction manuals, students directly manipulate, observe, and understand biotechnology activities while building fundamental skills. Our kits and equipment are student-led, which means that there is minimal to no teacher preparation required ahead of class. Our free virtual simulators help students practice before doing the experiments in real life, resulting in the highest success rates in the industry.

Since 2017, Amino Labs' operation are located on a century-old farm in Southern Alberta, a location steeped in tradition and grounded in the rhythms of nature and agriculture that have sustained communities for generations. And in keeping with the environmentally conscious values that Amino Labs loves about biology, Amino Labs works diligently to incorporate sustainable practices and technologies in our operations. In 2020, Amino Labs installed a 13 kWh array to ensure that it produces more electricity than it consumes, and we pledge to maintain this trend as Amino Labs continues to grow. 

We want the next generation to understand and leverage biotechnology to solve some of humanity's biggest challenges. In addition to our products and free teaching resources, Amino Labs is happy to support youth science literacy through partnership discounts, event sponsorship, free mentorship, and community workshops.

Want to learn more about what Amino Labs STEAM science experiments you can do? See the experiments and follow-along on our Youtube channel.