Mads Tvillinggaard Bonde is a talented biotechnologist completing his PhD at the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability, and serves as the CEO & founder of Labster, which is based in Copenhagen, Denmark. Luckily, we were able to get hold of him during one of his trips to Indonesia to visit Labster’s development center.
Bonde’s fascination in the fields of biology and biotechnology, specifically the possibility to engineer and utilize life to meet our needs, inspired him to specialize in the field at the Technical University of Denmark and go on to complete his thesis project in the George Church Lab at Harvard Medical School. In 2009, he and his team won the academic gold medal for the prestigious iGEM competition under the auspices of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Founded by Bonde in 2010, Labster, is a laboratory simulator where students engage with life science, biology and biotechnology experiments. The ambitious mission is to “empower the next generation of scientists to save the world” by supplementing or replacing physical lab exercises, providing 3D molecular animations, advanced mathematical simulations, interactive quizzes and real world scenarios. The innovative virtual platform allows users to conduct experiments that simulate real life research while freeing them of budget, safety and time constraints. Even though Labster was launched in 2010, its use has proliferated to important programs at Stanford, Berkeley, DTU and University of Copenhagen, just to name a few. According to Bonde, “the underlying trend is that sophisticated, next generation tools and virtual environments can transform science from something challenging to an engaging experience, overcoming difficulties both in the learning and research spaces”.
When asked about his take on the future of the biotech field, Bonde highlights that the field has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years, and points to the convergence of biotechnology and computer science as the trend for the decades to come. “Many of the global problems we are facing right now can be actually solved using biotechnology” and for this reason he is also convinced that “bioinformatics will play a central role in shifting our society from being oil-based to bio-based, where cell-factories (eg. E. coli bacteria) can produce a wide range of products (fuels but also pharmaceuticals) from sources that are currently considered waste products”. Bonde was unable to reveal many details about his current research, but he told us that he develops novel synthetic biology tools to modify E. coli bacteria so that it produces medicines and other biochemicals. He was very excited to note that novel technologies and advanced software like, Genome Compiler, facilitate processes that have traditionally been tedious and cumbersome for biologists.
We recommend you to check out Labster at http://www.labster.com/, which on June 25th has launched a new suite of labs, dazzling new features and a free suite of online labs. Also, follow this link if would like to become one of their Beta testers: https://podio.com/webforms/1948700/131955.