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The Commoner Scientists

The DIYBiology world tour documentary

About the project

What is The Commoner Scientists?

The Commoner Scientists is a documentary project on DIYBiology across the globe.

Genetics and molecular biology may seem complicated. However, DIYBiology enthusiasts claim that everybody can understand them, and even better : use them ! Dive into a world inhabited by passionate people, more or less silly projects and citizen right fights.

The 52 minutes movie will be composed from hundreds of hours of interviews of actors of the DIYBiology communities, policy makers and scientists.

What are the objectives of The Commoner Scientists?

To collect data and exchange idea from one DIYBio lab to another

Travel would be made from lab to lab and interviews would be taken of a wide variety of people, to collect data useful for certain person such as Morgan Meyer or Denisa Kera, sociologists, while transmitting ideas from one place to another.

To present the DIY Bio movement to a broad audience

DIY Bio is a subculture that has a lot to gain from becoming well known. And we strongly believe that everyone has a lot to learn from DIY Bio!

To kindle curiosity and challenge the viewer’s perception of science

Society is changing. In an era of false news and scientific scandals, demystifying science in the eye of our societies is crucial… And the DIY Bio movement is a perfect example of how we could achieve that.

Why a documentary on DIYBiology ?

Demystifying biotech ?

Helping research on cancer?

Teaching children how to build a microscope out of cardboard?

Invent a water filter adapted to droughed affected regions?

Some examples among many others!

Behind these projects are people from everywhere who decided to act, and who are proving each day that everybody can be a commoner scientist.

What if everyone was made for science?

What is DIYBiology exactly?

What - To do biology outside of a professional lab. Determination, ingenuity but above all curiosity, are what fuel this movement… and what one needs to make a high-technology equipment from scratch, with less money than what is needed to buy half a couch.

Why - « for the right to arrive independently at an understanding of the world around oneself » Meredith Patterson in A Biopunk Manifesto

When - Forever ! However the concept has been invented in 1988, and the movement has been developing since 2005, since the first Biohackers joined San Fransisco Programmer and Hacker communities.

Who - Everyone! The movement is promoting that science should not be exclusive to an institutionalised elite.

Where - DIYBiology Lab where one can debate with a scientist, a baker and an computer engineer. Places where seriousness merge with fun, where you can find a solution to the insulin crisis as well as a way to produce home-made ink. There are 43 registered lab across the world.

How - They don’t mean to, and simply can’t, replace scientists. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a few tricks up their sleeves: they have their own knowledge, background, ways of thinking, completely different from the biologist's mind patterns. They have the key of transdisciplinarity, that can open many doors yet to be seen by institutionalised research .

And what are those people doing?

Here are some examples of DIYBiology projects:

Open Insulin : A project to find a cheaper way to synthesise insulin, and thus making this drug affordable for everyone. (

Real Vegan Cheese : A team working on making vegan cheese. Not a substitute, real vegan cheese! They are working with yeasts capable of producing protein found in milk. (

Epidemium : One of the first examples of professional open research. It's a partnership between a DIYBiology lab and a pharma company, this project aims to find new ways of using data on cancer. (

Pili : A start-up that was born in a DIYBiology lab, who sells ink made by bacteria. (

And much more !

The partners are :

And also...

Brouillon d'un rêve Documentaire

On The Green Road


Ecole des Mines de Paris


What are the funds for?

        Your participation will allow the documentary to live and film the different DIYBiology movements across 5 continents. DIYBiology comes across a wide variety of challenges and has a wide variety of goals- which are absolutely different from continent to continent. This is why it is essential to grasp the DIYBiology in its entirety.

        And like DIYBiology, sharing is a core aspect of this project! This crowdfunding aims to gather people that will be able to interact with The Commoner Scientists. Through suggestions, advices and discussions during the course of the project we'll make this documentary together!

      The money will be used for transports and the micro HF.

The other sources of funding are :

  10% - institutional help         55% - personnal savings      

About the project owner

I'm Pablo Lassale, a science lover, and a D.I.Y. enthusiast. Studying at AgroParisTech, an agronomical engineering school, aflamed even more my curiosity on a wide array of subjects from vertical farming to, expectedly, D.I.Y. Biology. When I was 6, I assured my parents that when I’ll be a grown up, « I’ll be a laboratory ». This not-so realistic vocation has been turned in an insatiable curiosity since. The subject, though, is still the same : science, what, how, why.

When I was young, my parents used to direct documentaries. As thay couldn't leave me alone, they made me travel with them. A lot. I will never be able to thank them enough for that!

During my gap year (2017/2018), I have this unique opportunity to combine my love for biology and DIY, my personal convictions and my desire to travel. This will result in the creation of The Commoner Scientists.

With the participation of :

Morgan Meyer : Sociology PhD, specialised in DIYBiology.

Thomas Hervé Mboa Nkoudou : Head of OSH Africa.

Astride Waliszek et Philippe Lassale : Directors of seven documentaries.