The Open Insulin Project
The price of insulin has doubled between 2012 and 2016 with the few suppliers of insulin raising prices in near-synchrony. The Open Insulin Project is creating an open source (freely available) model for insulin production that centers sustainable, small-scale manufacturing and open source alternatives to production. We are developing organisms and protocols to produce rapid acting (lispro) and long acting (glargine) insulin.
We will also develop open hardware equivalents to proprietary production equipment, research sustainable regulation pathways to bring our insulin to the public, and complete plans for local, small-scale manufacturing pilots. We envision a world in which communities in need have local sources of safe, affordable, high-quality insulin, and where people living with diabetes and their communities can own and govern the organizations that produce the medicine they depend on to survive.
The Open Insulin Foundation is working to create an open-source model for distributed and decentralized insulin manufacturing. For over five years, team members have volunteered to make this idea a reality, bringing attention to the outrageous and unaffordable price of insulin. Our work has garnered widespread attention, and we have been featured in the Time Magazine (“The Price of Insulin has soared these biohackers want to fix it”), the Wall Street Journal (“The high price of insulin causes some to take extreme measure”), and in recent YouTube video posts by our team (“How much will it cost?”).
To help grow the project and give opportunities to those still at home, the team is launching a second summer internship program. This is a volunteer position with a non-profit, and those who complete the program will be able to use this experience as a reference for the future.
The internship is part of the Open Insulin project and will have a global focus. It will run for nine weeks (the week of 6/13/2021 through the week of 8/8/2021). Lab experiences will be available for those who are available to work in Baltimore at Baltimore Underground Science Space.
Interns are expected to work for approximately six hours a week (internship with no lab work) and at least twelve hours per week (internship with lab work). They are also required to attend Open Insulin community meetings (Sundays at 12 PM PST), a weekly meeting with their intern team and mentor, and a weekly all interns lesson (times will be decided once interns are selected).
Applications will be open through May 15th. Decisions announced after June 1st.
Those who are working in the lab at Baltimore Underground Science Space will work on molecular cloning and expression of DNA constructs for producing insulin. For those who are not working in the lab, this internship instead focuses on the different areas connected to running a nonprofit and helping bring community-produced insulin to market. Interns will work in teams on social media management, digital marketing, education, regulatory research, fundraising strategy, and more, with the goal of expanding the reach of the OI initiative. Each intern team will be assigned to a team with a mentor and the team will meet weekly. Given the independent nature of this program, interns will be expected to be self-responsible and problem-solve under loose guidance. In addition, each week all interns will meet and receive a one hour lecture/class on a topic related to the Open Insulin project.
Applicants can be current high school or undergraduate college students, who speak English and are able to attend online meetings. If an intern is under 18, they will be required to sign a waiver granting guardian permission upon acceptance into the program.
There is no application fee or cost to attend this program.