CB Timeline

  • 600 BCE

    Ancient Greek Science (600 B.C - 400 B.C)

    Ancient Greek Science (600 B.C - 400 B.C)
    The Pythagorean Theorem is born. Greeks Leucippus and Democritus put forward the hypothesis that matter was composed of extremely small atoms, with different materials being composed of different combinations of these atoms. Aristotle does important work on plants and animal biology (he classified about 540 animal species and carried out dissections of at least 5 different animals)
  • 750

    Science in the Tang Dynasty (618–906)

    Science in the Tang Dynasty (618–906)
    The Chinese advent of Alchemy had a strong connection to medicine. They believed that ingesting long-lasting precious substances such as jade, cinnabar or hematite would confer some of that longevity on the person who consumed them. In 659, ancient traditions of Chinese herbal medicine were compiled into an imperial pharmacopeia called the Revised Materia Medica, the first recorded pharmacopeia in the world.
  • 1025

    Islamic Golden Age (8th Century - 14th Century)

    Islamic Golden Age (8th Century - 14th Century)
    After the fall of the Western Roman Empire, knowledge of Greek conceptions were preserved in the Middle East world during the Islamic Golden Age. One famous medical text that came out this time was "The Canon of Medicine" by Muslim physician Avicenna
  • 1440

    The Printing Press **

    The Printing Press **
    In Germany, Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press, allowing manuscripts and books to be mass-produced at affordable costs. For millennia, science was a largely solitary pursuit. Great mathematicians and natural philosophers were separated by geography, language and the slow pace of hand-written publishing. With the newfound ability to publish and share scientific findings and experimental data with a wide audience, science took great leaps forward in the 16th and 17th centuries.
  • 1500

    Scientific Revolution (16th and 17th Century) **

    Scientific Revolution (16th and 17th Century) **
    The Scientific Revolution era began with Nicolaus Copernicus (1473– 1543) who proposed that the sun was stationary in the center of the universe and the earth revolved around it and ends with Isaac Newton (1642 - 1727) who revolutionized the laws of motion and phenomenon of gravity. Zacharias Janssen invents the microscope (1590)
  • 1570

    Women Healers / "Witch" Hunts (1450 - 1750) **

    Women Healers / "Witch" Hunts (1450 - 1750) **
    As European medicine becomes firmly established as a secular science, witch-healers were often the only general medical practitioners for people who had no doctors and no hospitals and who were bitterly afflicted with poverty and disease. The witch was accused not only of murdering and poisoning, sex crimes and conspiracy—but of helping and healing. "If a woman dare to cure without having studied she is a witch and must die."
  • Modern day chemistry is revolutionized

    Modern day chemistry is revolutionized
    The first modern chemist was Robert Boyle in Ireland. Though most famous for his work with gases, Boyle was also the first to disagree with the Greek idea of four elements in his book The Skeptical Chymist, published in 1661.
  • The Enlightenment (18th Century) **

    The Enlightenment (18th Century) **
    The Enlightenment era brought the discipline of science to popularization. An increasingly literate population seeking knowledge and education in the sciences drove the expansion of print culture and the dissemination of scientific learning. Encyclopedias and dictionaries became more popular during the Enlightenment as the number of educated consumers who could afford these texts began to multiply.
  • "Biologi"

    The Latin-language form of the term "biology" first appeared in 1736 when Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus used biologi in his Bibliotheca Botanica. The term biology is derived from the Greek word βίος, vios, "life" and the suffix -λογία, -logia, "study of."
  • Naturalist Movement (19th Century) **

    Naturalist Movement (19th Century) **
    Naturalist Movement - origins of "citizen scientists", untrained scientists who would collect organic material (flora, fauna, etc.) and study, draw and analyze them. For Victorian naturalists, a community could be formed through letter-writing networks, and societies, clubs or various other meeting places. Journals like the Midland Naturalist or Hardwicke’s Science Gossip were places for anyone interested in natural history to communicate with each other.
  • "Biology"

    Years after the introduction of biologi, in 1802, "biology" was suggested by German naturalist Gottfried Reinhold Treviranus, and introduced as a scientific term that year in French by Lamarck; they seem to have hit upon the word independently
  • Darwin's Tree of Life **

    Darwin's Tree of Life **
    Darwin first sketches his evolutionary "tree of life" in one of his notebooks
  • Pfizer is Founded

    Pfizer is Founded
    The first US Pharmaceutical company Pfizer is founded in New York City in 1849 by German-American Charles Pfizer and his cousin Charles F. Erhart from Ludwigsburg, Germany.
  • The Origin of Species **

    The Origin of Species **
    Charles Darwin writes The Origin of Species - ground-breaking scientific work on evolutionary biology. It includes an updated version of his 1837 Tree of Life.
  • American Civil War Breaks Out **

    American Civil War Breaks Out **
    American Civil War breaks out and has as much of an impact on the nascent pharmaceutical industry as on American society in general. The “first industrial war” involved as many drug producers as weapons manufacturers. Beginning of Governmental bodies (i.e. Military) relationship with the pharmaceutical industry.
  • Bayer Pharmaceuticals is founded

    Bayer Pharmaceuticals is founded
    Bayer pharmaceuticals is founded in Germany by Fredrich Bayer and Johann Fredrich Weskott. Later, during WW1 they would manufacture chlorine gas and build a "School for Chemical Warfare"
  • Gregor Mendel discovers the basic principles of genetics

    Gregor Mendel discovers the basic principles of genetics
    Gregor Mendel conducts ground-breaking work on hereditary and genetics. Mendel conducted experiments on pea plants, attempting to crossbreed "true" lines in specific combinations. He identified seven characteristics: plant height, pod shape and colour, seed shape and colour, and flower position and colour.
  • Louis Pasteur develops vaccines

    Louis Pasteur develops vaccines
    During the mid- to late 19th century Louis Pasteur discovered how to make vaccines from weakened, or attenuated, microbes. He developed the earliest vaccines against fowl cholera, anthrax, and rabies.
  • Apothecaries move into wholesale production

    Apothecaries move into wholesale production
    The modern pharmaceutical industry traces its origin to two sources: apothecaries that moved into wholesale production of drugs such as morphine, quinine, and strychnine and dye and chemical companies that established research labs and discovered medical applications for their products starting in the 1880s
  • Élie Metchnikoff - Self Experimenter

    Élie Metchnikoff - Self Experimenter
    Élie Metchnikoff self-injected relapsing fever spirochetes. In an attempt to kill himself, Metchnikoff injected himself with the blood of a patient with relapsing fever - he did not die, but became severely ill, proving that the disease was transmissible.
  • August Bier - Self Experimenter

    August Bier - Self Experimenter
    August Bier and his assistant test spinal anesthesia on themselves via a small injection of cocaine into the spinal cord. “Cocainisation of the spine” to create a state of total pain relief or numbing of the body. The experiment works on his assistant, which Bier confirms by kicking his shins, bludgeoning and burning him, plucking out his pubic hairs and mashing his genitals. He feels nothing at the time, but is painfully sore the next day.
  • E=Mc2

    Albert Einstein's mathematical expression of the relationship between matter and energy. E=mc2 demonstrated that under certain conditions mass could be converted into energy. Albert Einstein did not work directly on the atomic bomb, but this equation made the creation of the atomic bomb theoretically possible.
  • Birth of the FDA

    Birth of the FDA
    FDA’s modern regulatory functions begins with the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act, a law that prohibited interstate commerce in adulterated and misbranded food and drugs. Chemists in the U.S. gain a new stature and industrial employment due to the requirements for accurate analysis of medicines contained in the 1906 Food & Drugs Act.
  • United States Eugenics Record Office is created

    United States Eugenics Record Office is created
    C.B Davenport establishes the Eugenics Record Office in New York. The ERO trained men and women on the "science" of eugenics and data collection. These field workers helped accumulate a large number of records on "inherited" human traits.
  • Discovery of Penicillin

    Discovery of Penicillin
    Alexander Fleming discovers penicillin. This discovery led to the introduction of antibiotics that greatly reduced the number of deaths from infection.
  • Relationship between US Government and Pharma industry strengthens **

    Relationship between US Government and Pharma industry strengthens **
    US government appeals to the pharma industry for support in producing penicillin for the war effort. In an unprecedented collaboration, Pfizer works with government scientists and researchers to develop therapies.
  • The Manhattan Project **

    The Manhattan Project **
    The Manhattan Project is known as the first "Big Science" project is funded by billions of dollars, thousands of people and 17 different labs. Scientists at Los Alamos, led by nuclear physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, develop two distinct types of atomic bombs. On August 6th 1945, " Little Boy" is dropped on Hiroshima and on August 9th 1945 "Fat Man" is dropped on Nagasaki
  • Nuremberg Code (1945 - 1947) **

    Nuremberg Code (1945 - 1947) **
    After World War II, a series of trials were held to hold members of the Nazi party responsible for a multitude of war crimes. The Nuremberg Code was the primary influence on modern-day bioethics, including regulations on human experimentation in relation to biomedicine (i.e. patient consent, the necessity of experiment, etc.)
  • US becomes leading pharmaceutical producer

    US becomes leading pharmaceutical producer
    Wartime support for research accelerates the development of certain therapies. The U.S is producing over half of the world's pharmaceuticals and accounted for one-third of international trade in medicines. Drug salesmanship is transformed into a professional service.
  • Jonas Salk - Self Experimenter **

    Jonas Salk - Self Experimenter **
    Jonas Salk begins initial human testing of his polio vaccine. Among those tested; himself, his wife, and his three children
  • Discovery of the structure of DNA **

    Discovery of the structure of DNA **
    James Watson and Francis Cirk publish the now-famous paper on the double helix DNA strand in Nature in April 1953 and in 1962 they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
  • Alvin Weinberg, coins the term “Big Science”

    Alvin Weinberg, coins the term “Big Science”
  • Institutional Patent Agreement (Bayh–Dole Act)

    Institutional Patent Agreement (Bayh–Dole Act)
    Institutional Patent Agreement program, circumvents patent rules that had been in place since the 1940s, not only making pharmaceutical monopolies possible but also greatly expanding their terms and limits.
  • Genentech **

    Genentech **
    The first company to engineer yeast to produce insulin using restriction enzymes, kicking off the synthetic biology revolution
  • Daniel Zagury - Self Experimenter **

    Daniel Zagury - Self Experimenter **
    A French physician named Dr. Daniel Zagury becomes the first to test an AIDS vaccine on humans by injecting it into his own arm. Though he was not at risk himself, he wanted to eventually test the side effects of the vaccine before administering it to a "higher risk" group (12 Zairian adults and 22 Zairian children). In 1991, one of Zagury's test subjects died as a result of the vaccine.
  • HIV/AIDS Buyers Clubs **

    HIV/AIDS Buyers Clubs **
    In the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, AIDS buyers clubs became important as a means of obtaining medications not yet approved by the FDA that members thought might be useful in treating HIV. Buyers clubs were used to smuggle large quantities of non-FDA approved foreign drugs into the United States.
  • Human Genome Project **

    Human Genome Project **
    This 3-billion-dollar, 15-year program was an international scientific research project with the goal of determining the sequence of nucleotide base pairs that make up human DNA, and of identifying and mapping all of the genes of the human genome from both a physical and a functional standpoint. The Human Genome Project is known as the first Big Bio experiment.
  • "Biohacker" Term Emerges

    "Biohacker" Term Emerges
    Sylvan Katz, researcher at the National Research Council of Canada's Plant and Biotechnology Institute, prophesizes the emergence of the biohacker within the next decade. "most researchers who practise the art of genetic modification had reservations about the idea that biohackers currently exist. However, each of them conceded that biohackers probably will emerge in the coming decade
  • CRISPR Beginnings

    CRISPR Beginnings
    Francisco Mojica was the first researcher to characterize what is now called a CRISPR locus.
  • Dolly the Sheep is Cloned

    Dolly the Sheep is Cloned
    The world famous Dolly the sheep is the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. The feat is ground-breaking – whilst animals such as cows had previously been cloned from embryo cells, Dolly demonstrated that DNA could be used to create an entire organism.
  • Select Agents Rule

    Select Agents Rule
    In 1999, Select Bio-agents were declared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or by the USDA to have the "potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety". It regulates the laboratories which may possess, use, or transfer select agents within the United States
  • The dot-com boom

    The dot-com boom
    The dot-com boom occurs roughly from 1994 to 2000, a period of massive growth in the use and adoption of the Internet. This era brought about a time period in which people could access information and knowledge easily. Years later, communication services like texting, email, and social media allow people to connect from all over the world and share/disseminate information at a rapid pace.
  • Anthrax Letters

    Anthrax Letters
    Anthrax was sent via anonymous letters to news agencies in Florida and New York and a congressional office building in Washington. Five people died and 12 fell severely ill.
  • Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act

    Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act
    Post 9/11, Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness Act establishes procedures for preparation for bioterrorism and public health emergencies.
  • Arrest of Steve Kurtz

    Arrest of Steve Kurtz
    After finding his wife dead in their Buffalo home, Steve Kurtz (bio artist) is detained by police after the FBI is called to investigate his scientific equipment (beakers, Petri dishes with "suspicious substances"). He is detained for 5 days and investigated on charges relating to "The Biological Warfare Statue". He was dismissed from all bioterrorism charges in July 2004.
  • DIYBio Founded **

    DIYBio Founded **
    DIYBio Organization founded by Jason Bobe and Mackenzie Cowell. DIYBio provides resources for those in the do-it-yourself biology community. It maintains a directory of local groups encompassing both meetup groups and organizations maintaining community laboratory space.
  • Stock Market Crash

    Stock Market Crash
    Financial downturn in 2008. Many small science labs went bust, leading to large amounts of equipment coming available for cheap. Coupled with high rates of unemployment for PhDs (also known as the “postdocalypse”), this was the perfect storm for disgruntled academics and industry researchers to leave their old labs and set of on their own.
  • FBI begins to Engage with DIY Bio Community. **

    FBI begins to Engage with DIY Bio Community. **
    Beginning in 2009 the FBI engages active members of the DIYbio scene much like they engage scientific boards at universities and businesses. The dialogue focused on safety issues and aimed to instill a sense of self-policing in the ad-hoc online community
  • First DIYBio Lab

    First DIYBio Lab
    Genspace Opens first DIY BioLab in New York City
  • CRISPR Gene Editing **

    CRISPR Gene Editing **
    Doudna and Emmanuelle Charpentier were the first to propose that CRISPR-Cas9 (enzymes from bacteria that control microbial immunity) could be used for programmable editing of genomes.
  • FBI / DIY Bio Conference at Walnut Creek

    FBI / DIY Bio Conference at Walnut Creek
    In 2012, an FBI/DIY Bio conference is scheduled in Walnut Creek, California. The FBI's goal is to "try to spot any potential issues. The agency encourages biohackers to adopt a neighbourhood-watch-style approach. To be the first line of defence against nefarious actors" as Craig Fair of the FBI's Counterterrorism Division in San Fransisco put it during the Walnut Creek workshop.
  • The ODIN

    The ODIN
    Josiah Zayner creates the ODIN and raises 70,000$ for the production and sale of DIY CRISPR Kits
  • International Summit on Human Gene Editing

    International Summit on Human Gene Editing
    The world's top geneticists meet in Washington to discuss the future of human genome editing at a summit that is among the most important ever held on the topic.
  • Open Insulin Project

    Open Insulin Project
    Bay Area Hackers work to develop the first freely available, open organisms for insulin production for small-scale, locally-based groups to use.
  • Josiah Zayner Self-Experiments with CRISPR

    Josiah Zayner Self-Experiments with CRISPR
    In a public display at the SynBio Beta Conference in San Francisco, Josiah attempted to edit his DNA with CRISPR. The ODIN releases a “DIY Human CRISPR Guide” online which was a set of instructions and tips for conducting self-CRISPR experiments at home.
  • First Global Community Biosummit

    First Global Community Biosummit
    In October of 2017, the first Global Community Bio Summit is held at MIT in Boston. DIY Bio enthusiasts, biohackers and bioarists attend.
  • First CRISPR Humans are Born

    First CRISPR Humans are Born
    Chinese researcher He Jiankui uses CRISPR to edit human embryos. Twins Lulu and Nana are born on Nov. 25 2018 and are the first CRISPR edited humans.
  • First U.S CRISPR patient trials begin

    First U.S CRISPR patient trials begin
    These first clinical trials are testing CRISPR/Cas9’s safety and efficacy against cancer, blood disorders and one form of inherited blindness in people who already have the disease.