TheLab: LA’s Place for Scientific Exploration

submission by ctobin
TheLab: LA’s Place for Scientific Exploration

About Your Application

Organization(s) name(s):

TheLab, Inc

Organization(s) website(s):

Organization(s) twitter handle(s):

Organization(s) facebook handle(s):

Describe Your Organization(s)

Non-profit organization

For-profit organization


Other (please specify below):

In one sentence, please describe what your organization does.


The mission of the TheLab, founded by university scientists and now lead by a Caltech PhD biologist, is to make science accessible to all of LA by providing lab equipment and workspace, offering classes and organizing events to exchange ideas.

In one to three sentences, please describe your proposal.


We are looking to acquire additional scientific and safety equipment with the goals of expanding our youth scientist program, community classes, and workshops. We will design classes most suitable to the needs and capabilities of our community.

Where will you be working? Please be specific (e.g. Third Street Middle School; Boyle Heights; LA County).

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA


South Bay

Antelope Valley

County of Los Angeles (countywide)

City of Los Angeles (citywide)


Other (please specify below):

How do you plan to use these resources to make change? (check all that apply)

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or program

Mobilize for systems change

Advocate with policymakers and leaders

Implement and track policy

Other (please specify below):

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics? (check all that apply)

Percentage of children enrolled in early education programs

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math

Academic Performance Index* scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher education institutions, and the workforce) (Dream Metric)

Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)

Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)

Students perceived sense of safety at and on the way to school (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.


TheLab has a three part proposal.

1. We need to increase our research and safety equipment. TheLab will offer more workbench spaces to accommodate more members and classes with a larger number of participants. We will install more equipment to make the lab more functional and safer. Our goal is an open laboratory space with multiple workbenches and a common area for group events and presentations.

2. TheLab is actively involved in mentoring youth scientists. Cory Tobin has volunteered countless hours personally mentoring students. His success is undeniable. All of his students have won science fairs at their schools, won awards at the LA County Science Fairs, and won awards at the California State Science Fairs. One of his students was selected to be a participant in the Broadcom Masters and had the opportunity to meet President Obama to honor his successes. Two of his students participated in the iGEM competition impressing graduate and post graduate level scientists with their presentation and knowledge. The successes of these youth scientists are amazing and will propel these students into incredible opportunities.

TheLab needs to expand to have a permanent program for student scientists. Without more resources this will not be possible. TheLab will provide the opportunity for students in the LA area to have a safe and resourceful laboratory where they can learn from other students and experienced scientists to conduct professional research experiments.

3. TheLab will offer classes on topics ranging from sophisticated research such as CRISPR to beginner level topics such as tree grafting. We will accept suggestions to create classes to meet the needs of our community. We believe that these classes are our best way to engage with the community. Many of our classes require no prerequisite knowledge allowing beginners to become familiar with laboratory equipment and proper research and safety protocol. With these skills they can advance to independent research or meet with other members to form research teams.

In order to accomplish parts 2 and 3 of our proposal we are asking for your help to fund part 1.

Biotechnology is expanding at an incredible rate. We are experiencing a wave of new DIY biologists that are doing research comparable to that of professionals. Our community is excited to learn how the world works and be part of the science of the future. With your help we will be able to expand TheLab and open our doors to all of LA.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.


TheLab will evaluate our progress by keeping detailed records of our participants in each of our programs.

1. For the youth program we will track how many students are involved. The students’ success in the program will be evaluated by our experienced members and the students’ placements at the local and state science fairs. When possible we will assist students in publishing their research in professional peer reviewed scientific journals.

2. For our classes we will track participation and provide surveys after each class for our students to give feedback. We will use the participation numbers and the surveys to determine the classes that are working best and which need to be revamped.

3. We will also have routine meetings with our members to discuss their individual research work and get updates on their progress. From this we will know how we can assist our members, possibly through acquiring necessary equipment or teaching classes on skills needed to continue their research.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed? (check all that apply)

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)

Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research

Other (please specify below):

10 Pink talk bubble tail c96b4a07ef1417e25d0bcf5c4cba4766b8bbf0382f07677990a9d5577885d4d7


by balletinmoscow
5 months ago

A great educational tool. Knowledgable staff ready to mentor our future scientists. It's a win win.

by Colinalibrary
5 months ago

The Lab is a great organization. I learn something new with each visit, and the level of passion for scientific research and exploration is inspiring. I feel very fortunate to be living in one of the few cities to have such an amazing DIY biolab and community.

by Krobles89
5 months ago

This is an amazing facility that benefits all of LA. This unique lab offers resources unavailable to most students and adults. Fund this proposal allowing them to become a better community resource for everyone.

by Joylane
5 months ago

TheLAB is a wonderful asset to LA DIYs as well as young minds needing more than their high school science labs can offer. Many youth have excelled at TheLAB with their projects and have gone on to state and national awards. These facilities and nuturing environment are essential to LAs future biotechnolgy scientists.

by JRDbd0411
5 months ago

This is an incredible group made up of people of all ages with a huge variety of educational backgrounds. It is amazing to watch the middle school and high school students as they learn how to do professional level research. The achievements these students have made are so inspiring. On top of an awesome youth program there are adults from all walks of life conducting personal and group research. Anyone with a passion for science and learning is welcome which is what makes this group so unique. With more funding these incredible talented people will develop concepts that will change our world and make LA a stand out location for scientific research.

by Melbears
5 months ago

If we are serious about finding cures for disease, what better way than arming children with the skills of the cutting edge techniques such as CRISPR. This L4B took a team to IGEM and presented against the 245 best universities in the worlds premier synthetic biology competition.

by djwri
6 months ago

There are so many good projects vying for LA2050, but what I especially like about this one is that it acknowledges that learning is a lifelong process. LAB is a resource for kids and adults.

by spidra
6 months ago

Help empower young people to excel in STEM education and learn the essentials of Bioscience - vote for The Lab!

by aryelipman
6 months ago

Thanks for all the support! We're looking forward to building a better lab to support the young scientists of LA!

by ctobin
6 months ago

Pink ribbon award box icon 45b87e779c93f5099a48378c2aadc0fcd51184974daecf76e3f5c50034ea21fb
Award topvotedidea 5a5ae14e3d56a10363ea2a398cece46cf4df891213cbe68677c19d8903a1932a
Circle 1 inactive e7784182a1bd5eace578987db27fc19ec6337f418c48c6c8732605b9043d50d0 Step1 title submission inactive cde083e53089b973e7c9dc80a44a038c1ce4cf3b2650aeb5549157d1ed58a2d9

Submission Began
Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Submission Ended
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
at 07:00 PM UTC

Circle 2 inactive 74a43088831beb43fdbd7591ef5d50a5a7a26ff92c9e8ed489782459fa31a8d9 Step2 title voting inactive 96be722f53c417edddb5742ba9a6dc2fd403f7e4f6c19dbe883d50d20d93689d

Voting Began
Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voting Ended
Tuesday, November 03, 2015
at 08:00 PM UTC

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Winner Announced
Tuesday, December 08, 2015