indiebio is the avatar of Bernelle Verster: indie as in indie rock, and bio as in biology.

Current interests, October 2023:

Responsive infrastructures, at appropriate scales, which often means much smaller, much more decentralised approaches.

My hill to die on is that large, centralised projects only have “economy of scale” because they decentralise costs, to hoist those costs on top of already exploited workers and the environment to carry. Ideally governments would be strong enough to enforce accountability, but until we apply friction and force that to work better, we are going to have to force scales where we can act with integrity, and ensure the health of the community and our environments ourselves.

Appropriate scale also does NOT necessarily mean insulated, off-grid, each family for themselves, shortcuts, thinning-of-the herd mentality (WTF). It means the best scale for the job with all factors considered.

For fun, I am revisiting the DIYBio concepts for unique colour guinea pigs, and one day, (miniature) horses. And if it’s possible, even smaller miniature horses through genetic modification. Along the biotech vein I want to grow mushrooms too.

My day-to-day currently involves learning three.js and Blender and building up a portfolio, settling in to my new home in the Azores, lots of walks, spending quality time with my guinea pigs and being a bit of a housewife.

Repairability is another thing I am interested in, but so far have not gotten round to much more than patching my clothes and gluing my disintegrating shoes back together, but that is laziness driven, not ideologically.

Old stuff I need to sift through before deleting.

“Bernelle Verster is passionate about sanitation and is dedicated to developing waterless sanitation for everyone. Bernelle studied Biochemistry and Chemistry and obtained her Masters in Functional Genomics. Having completed her PhD in Bioprocessing Engineering, she is pushing boundaries in developing wastewater treatment solutions feeding into an economically-competitive integrated water and nutrients strategy.

Improving awareness around wastes, water and wastewater is a cause Bernelle has committed to, alongside her role at the Future Water Institute. Here she “plays in the interfaces” and crosses the divide between the public and science, analysing lived experiences to contribute to her research.

Bernelle is involved with many initiatives and passion projects, including Dream Zandvlei; and bringing awareness to catchments and environments through adventure and sport. The Water Sensitive Campaign AquaSavvy is another initiative she is active in, through which academic research is interpreted into action at various levels, including catchments and neighbourhoods.”

Currently (2018) I am working with the Future Water Institute: www.futurewater.uct.ac.za/bernelle-verster

Email is my very much most preferred way to get in touch: bernelle@indiebio.co.za

Else find me on Twitter @indiebio and if you have to do mobile, try Telegram or WhatsApp: +27 (0) 83 5454 993.

The other things:

Other things that I do currently include learning how to visualise aspects of Water Sensitive Design (WSD) in an engaging way – see my first forays in this post.

This interest was fueled by building my own home (links coming), being involved with the Zandvlei Protected Area, which taught me so much about how urban catchments work and the challenges of our urban estuaries, and these all lead to a water sensitive campaign that I founded called AquaSavvy.

Data visualisation seems to be a thing at the moment, I am keen to learn more to visualise my research data in a more engaging, interactive way – not great yet, but some success.

Then I am hoping to learn more and eventually develop instrumentation for resource recovery, specifically in the context of diffuse, complex media, like wastewater and specifically sanitation.

With regards to sanitation I am on a mission to develop waterless sanitation for everyone (not just the ’emergency’  yet effectively permanent sanitation for poor people), which really involves the processing of the faeces afterwards, and linking this with solid substrate bioprocesses (think, for example, the processes used to grow mushrooms).

The old bio had something like this:

Bernelle is a maverick bioprocess engineer, with a background in biochemistry,  chemistry, and just enough engineering to be dangerous. She is both ingenious and ingenuous, loves water, and gets in trouble often.

ingenious |in’jeny?s|


(of a person) clever, original, and inventive : he was ingenious enough to overcome the limited budget. See note at creative .

• (of a machine or idea) cleverly and originally devised and well suited to its purpose.

USAGE Ingenious and ingenuous are often confused. Ingenious means ‘clever, skillful, resourceful’ (: an ingenious device), while ingenuous means ‘artless, frank’ (: charmed by the ingenuous honesty of the child).

ingenuous |in’jenyoo?s|


(of a person or action) innocent and unsuspecting.

ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Latin ingenuus, literally ‘native, inborn,’ from in- ‘into’ + an element related to gignere ‘beget.’ The original sense was [noble, generous,] giving rise to [honorably straightforward, frank,] hence [innocently frank] (late 17th cent.).

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