About us

Empowering the next generation of scientists and innovators

At Amino Labs, our goal is to make genetic engineering accessible to everyone.

This will enable the next industrial revolution of personalized manufacturing using biology and help solve the world's biggest problem from fuel to food to medicine. At the moment, genetic engineering affects more than a billion people every day as a core part of our society, yet, only a minuscule fraction of the population understand it.

Driven by ground-breaking technology and UX started as a research thesis at MIT, our easy-to-use kits are giving rise to the next 99 million bioengineers, from the ages of 12 & up.

Learn more about genetic engineering

Amino Labs' Journey

From a kitchen biohack

Amino Labs Inc. was founded by designer Julie Legault, based on her thesis research at the MIT Media Lab, 2015. Following a kitchen biohacking event at Media Lab director Joi Ito's house, Julie wanted to replicate the experience to pursue her own research by making with biology. However, after experiencing the difficulties of learning synthetic biology, bioengineering, genetic engineering from textbooks, online material, and feeling ill-at-ease in a traditional life science lab, Julie created a minilab, the Amino One.

Based on Maker movement the minilab she created was not only to provide herself with a safe, fun environment to experiment in but more importantly as a way to encourage others to get familiar with, and discover genetic engineering through doing. 

More on the journey our of MIT

through many user tests

After graduation, Julie founded Amino Labs and with the help of scientist Dr. Justin Pahara, who had taught that very same kitchen biohack of 2014. Amino Labs collaborated with friends and colleagues from Montreal, Toronto, and Boston, to take the original design prototype and schematics further with a fast build, test and iterate cycle that included much user testing.  

At its very beginning in the fall of 2015, the company got a kickstart thanks to MIT's E14 Fund and participating in SF's Indie Bio accelerator.  That time is what allowed us to refine the Amino One and test it out with actual people!

Immense Support came from an early crowdfunding campaign for the Amino One which is still shipping with new units as of summer 2017.

To your kitchen

As a designer, Julie wanted to bring application-based learning to genetic engineering; from Fragrances to pigments, the Amino Labs ecosystem is made to inspire new enthusiasts to create with biology.

Through our build-test-iterate product development with users, we learned a lot, and turned these learnings into new products: Ingredient kits, the DNA Playground and the BioExplorer (formerly the Amino One, and the Bioproduction Lab) so that you, your family and students could experience the same life-changing event Julie did : creating your own engineered organisms.

Get your own kitchen biohacking on

Amino One ORIGINAL DESIGN PROTOTYPE

Amino One - CARDBOARD PROTOTYPING 2015

Michael Hirsch, K-8 Science Teacher - EARLY PROTOTYPE USER TESTING

Amino One Alpha - FIRST WORKING PROTOTYPES 2016

Phil, Julie, Justin, Manu - INDIEBIO.SF DEMO DAY 2016

Amino Labs in Hangzhou, China - EARLY USER TESTING

Acera School Students - BETA TESTERS SINCE 2015

Amino One - TEESIDE UNIVERSITY, UK 2016 USER TESTING

First Amino One workshop - CAMBRIDGE SCIENCE FESTIVAL 2016 USER TESTING

Amino One - LEARN01 MakerSpace, Miami 2016 USER TESTING

DNA Playground Alpha - HOMESCHOOLER WORKSHOP 2017 USER TESTING

DNA Playground Starter Kit Alpha -CAMBRIDGE SCIENCE FESTIVAL WORKSHOP 2017 UX TESTING

Engineer-it Kit - HOMESCHOOL GROUP 2017

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Canvas Kit - HALIBURTON ART FAIR 2017

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DNA Playground Starter Set - SINGULARITY UNIVERSITY WORKSHOP 2017

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Made in canada

a renovated bunny barn

All Amino Labs products, from the hardware to the DNA, are developed, designed, manufactured and packaged by us from our laboratory and workshop in Canada.  

We recently expanded our operation base into a 1970s barn in Alberta, Canada. Summer 2017 was spent renovating this barn from disuse (it had been an angora bunny barn in the late 90s) into a hi-tech lab suitable for manufacturing and R&D of both hardware and wetware.

See us on Google maps!

a designer-maker

Inspired by unfulfilled promises of the future, Julie Legault designs to make scientific and technological innovations approachable to the public, crafting experiences and products that invite culture shifts. She holds a Master of Art from the Royal College of Art (London, UK), degrees in both Design and Arts from Concordia University (Montreal, Canada), and a Master of Science from the M.I.T. Media Lab, (Cambridge, USA). She has taught at Birmingham’s Institute of Art and Design (UK) and worked with multi-nationals, museums, and pop stars like Rihanna and Imogen Heap to develop smart materials, wearable technologies, and interactive art. Julie is a proud fellow of the Coaching Fellowship program for extraordinary young women leaders of impact.

a life scientist

Dr. Justin Pahara is passionate about using biological systems to create and manufacture things in a sustainable way. Specializing in genetic engineering and biotechnology for education and synthetic biology, Justin endeavours to make engineering biology accessible to 100M+ people around the world. Over the last 4 years, he has been working to bring synthetic biology technology to market through Synbiota Inc., and more recently, Amino Labs. Justin spent time at the University of Cambridge (PhD), Singularity University (GSP-10), iGEM (2007, 2008), the University of Alberta (B.Sc., M.Sc.).

AMINO LABS COLLABORATORS - MAKING THINGS HAPPEN!

ROBOCUT STUDIO, MONTREAL

Robocut Studio has been instrumental since the beginning. From software to mechanical engineering, Phil, Manu, Josiane and the team have gotten us from a design prototype to the first 8 fully functioning Amino Ones.  

visit robocut studio

Cliff Lau, San Francisco

Cliff worked with us to get an early proof of concept data streaming from the Amino Ones to a website. 

George Brown College, Toronto

Thanks to their Industry Partnership program, James McIntyre ( Faculty of Engineering), and David Hu (star student), have taken our user-tested DNA Playground through Design for Manufacturing, getting us a product ready to manufacture at scale and ship!  

TENFWD, boston

When any design or usability questions come up (and they do almost daily) we are sure to contact our friends at TENFWD for a second (or first) opinion. From a tricky UX problem to which color looks best, TENFWD always as the answer.

Visit TENFWD

OUR MOST POPULAR BUILD

Our most popular product is the DNA Playground Starter Pack - Everything to get started, no prior experience necessary!.


YOUR FEEDBACK HELPS US GROW

We'd love to hear your thoughts, feedback, and suggestions so that we can continue to make our products better, and fitting to your needs.
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