Scott Pownall is a scientist, biohacker, bioinformatician, software developer, photographer and entrepreneur who is passionate about breaking down the barriers people face when trying to understand and engage with DNA technologies. He has a lifelong passion and curiosity for the world around him and this drives his diverse interests.
In the early 1980s he switched focus from electronics engineering to studying biotechnology at RMIT University after reading an article in the Melbourne Age on the then new Gene Machines. This lead him to completed his doctoral research in Genetics at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Throughout his academic career Scott received numerous awards and scholarships including from the Australian Society of Microbiologists, the Canadian Arthritis Society,
the Medical Research Council of Canada and the National Cancer Institute of Canada.
In the late 1990s he join the laboratory of Dr. Tak Mak as a post-doctoral fellow at the Amgen Research Institute and Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto. As a member of the ARI he had access to the raw sequence data coming off of the Celera sequencing farm - the company that was the first to sequence the human genome. This lead him to participate in the first human genome jamboree at Celera. After his post-doctoral fellowship he returned to Vancouver to join a small biotech startup where he became Director of Molecular and Cellular Biology. He then founded BioWerks Software Ltd. to provide custom bioinformatics tools to SMBs.
In 2010 Scott started to see a lot of second hand lab equipment selling online and he made his first purchase. Yearning to get back to his passion for bench molecular biology he slowly he built a reasonable home lab before he even heard of DIYbio. In late 2013 he discovered DIYBio Vancouver and connected with Erik Zepka. They hosted a talk in Feb, 2015 asking "Is now the time for a community biolab in Vancouver?". In June of 2015, with the help of an awesome group of citizen scientists, they co-founded Open Science Network, a BC incorporated non-profit society, thus establishing Vancouver's first community biolab where he has been engaging in community outreach, synthetic biology education and STEM Mentoring.
In the fall of 2016 he was sponsored to take the How to Grow Almost Anything Synthetic Biology program directed by George Church as part of bioAcademy. Open Science Network is now part of the BioFabLab network and Scott will be the local instructor in Vancouver this fall.