By: Natalie Kuldell
President, The BioBuilder Educational Foundation
Instructor, MIT Department of Biological Engineering
Bill Gates told Wired magazine that if he were a kid today, he’d want to be hacking biology. But how will the next generation of biocoders learn the language of DNA programming? How will they find ways to connect personally meaningful projects to synthetic biology’s most pressing and compelling questions? The BioBuilder Educational Foundation takes advantage of this opportunity to engage teachers, students, designers and enthusiasts of all sorts. BioBuilder converts authentic research questions in synthetic biology into teachable modules that are centered on every learner’s eagerness to explore and on their desire to be part of solving real world problems.
BioBuilder provides open-access curriculum and hands-on laboratory kits that fit into diverse classroom settings. Because the modules were co-created with secondary school teachers, they meet the current teaching standards and frameworks. And beyond the classroom, BioBuilder’s Biodesign Club is entering its third year. This iGEM-like club is open only to high school teams around the world, runs October through March, and is free of charge.
To support BioBuilder’s efforts, O’Reilly media published a textbook called “BioBuilder: Synthetic Biology in the Lab.” The book’s content was written by the MIT and UC-Berkeley faculty who have been leading BioBuilder’s professional development workshops since 2011. The next workshop will be taught by BioBuilder Founder, Dr. Natalie Kuldell, at Rockefeller University from July 27-29.
More information, including ways to support BioBuilder’s 501c3 Foundation, is at www.biobuilder.org.