Our mission is to build a biotech community in Illinois. We exist to provide the lab space, equipment, instruction, and materials necessary to allow any interested individual, regardless of age or experience, the ability to learn, experiment, and work on projects, be it for personal, community, research, or business purposes.

Who We Are

Sarah Ware
Sarah is compelled to do science and hopes to inspire others to make a difference in our world through scientific endeavors. BioBlaze Community Bio Lab exists to facilitate this purpose. Sarah holds a doctorate degree from Wageningen University in The Netherlands. In addition to founding BioBlaze, Sarah teaches biology, writing and humanities at Benedictine University and College of DuPage.


Isaac Larkin
I'm a PhD candidate at Northwestern trying to make biology easier to engineer. In my grad research I try to make nanoparticles that detect anthrax and human stress biomarkers (among other projects). In my spare time, I work on building two community biotechnology organizations and spaces in Chicago (ChiTownBio and BioBlaze); co-host a podcast on synthetic biology (GeneMods); and contribute to building the means of decentralized, democratized biotechnological production (the Free Genes Project). When not bioengineering, I like to read sci-fi + sci-non-fi books, watch FC Barcelona games and nature documentaries, and use the iNaturalist app to learn more about living things in Chicago


Leah Vaid
Since completing my Master's degree in 2009, I've worked variously in molecular diagnostics, analytical biochemistry, and microbiology. At BioBlaze, besides seizing control of organizational functions, I am independently working on engineering a blue rose. I'm always happy to teach, especially one-on-one or in small groups; I know a little but about a lot of different topics. In my spare time I am slowly restoring a 1966 Mustang, and I engage in various forms of recreational microbiology (brewing beer, lacto-fermenting vegetables, making sourdough, etc.).


Sammi McGovern
I am an undergraduate at Benedictine University, major in biology and a minor in environmental sciences. My roots have given me a profound love of nature and have driven my interest in making the world a better place. Which is why I was drawn to BioBlaze. There are so many amazing people, not only at our lab, but within the biohacking community. They all are doing incredible things, and I am honored to be a part of the movement. I am a tree-hugger, but do not worry I will not preach, unless by request. Besides the lab I enjoy visiting nature preserves, hanging out with my pets, and fantasy entertainment.


Justin Buschnyj
I'm a self-taught researcher working at the intersection of synthetic biology, soft robotics, and open-source hardware. Reducing the cost of research/education is a personal goal of mine. When I'm not pulling my hair out in the lab, I bike, camp, read, and occasionally do improv.