What We Do

BioBuilder uses real-world engineering challenges to teach life science. We present authentic research questions in modular, teachable form with the belief that authenticity sparks interest, engagement and understanding in STEM fields. Time and again we have seen how ongoing research, when provided in approachable and personally relevant form, can spark critical thinking and problem solving skills in students and how teachers reconnect with their love of teaching and learning when they are exposed to current research and innovation.

BioBuilder 2016 Annual Report
BioBuilder 2016 Annual Report

Our one-of-a-kind curriculum focuses on the field of synthetic biology. This emerging engineering field that uses DNA to reprogram living cells, building living systems from the ground up and engineering biotechnologies to tackle our world’s persistent challenges. Given how computers have changed our world in the last 20 years, it’s inspiring to imagine what we could do with a coding language that worked in living cells.

Our current curricular materials are well suited to advanced high school and early college classrooms. We also host a very popular high school BioBuilderClub for out-of-school time, and we have partnered with museums around the country to provide hands on synthetic biology through our “Building with Biology” kits. Coming soon: the expansion of our middle school content as well as a “Boots to Suits” career opportunity program, in partnership with LabCentral in Kendall Square.

What We Offer


Our content is provided both online and as a textbook published by O’Reilly Media. Our hands-on, minds-on lab kits are provided in partnership with Ward’s Education

We offer an invigorating teacher-training model. Workshops are offered around the country, and they have been called “game changing” and “invigorating” by teachers who enroll. “Essentials” level training helps teachers bring BioBuilder into their classrooms and labs, and our Master Teacher training further empower teachers as BioBuilder ambassadors who lead their own workshops for other teachers.

But most importantly, we offer a re-envisioning teaching and learning. Our program provides a pathway for students, teachers and the public to design and make personally meaningful biotechnologies that meet the challenges they face. We also vertically align synthetic biology partners — from students to practitioners. Consequently, we engender more vibrant classrooms. We enhance teacher leadership. We open retraining and up-training opportunities, and we reduce barriers to entrepreneurship. Most lastingly, our program improves civic discourse around synthetic biology as an emerging technology — which builds the capacity in us all.

Our BioBuilder Students

We succeed when we’ve prompted students to ask authentic questions, to wrestle with uncertainty and to bring their best selves to address a real world problem.

2013 student outcomes
Statistically significant data is shown. Collected from 175 paried pre and post tests distributed randomly to participating students in 2012-2013. Interested was measured on a 4 point Likert Scale. Understanding was measured with a 9 point assessment.

After just a few BioBuilder lessons and actual synthetic biology labs, I was completely hooked, and had a feeling that this was the kind of research and science I could spend a lifetime on. Now, two years later, I am even more certain that this is the field I can find my ideal career in, and will be moving towards a Bioengineering degree next year at college.”

Mike, Tyngsborough HS, MA

Thinking back to the whole year, not much has made an impact on me, except for the learning of synthetic biology. I believe synthetic biology is in fact the future of science, and it is exciting to see how it has changed the world so far. If I were to pursue a career in a scietific field, it would have to be in synthetic biology, because synthetic biologists seem to change the world the way they want it to be changed, and that sounds like a dream come true to me.”

Anonymous Feedback, Westborough HS, MA

Our BioBuilder Teachers

We succeed when teachers have access to materials that are refreshingly new and are easy to implement. We host teachers in professional development workshops where they are treated like the professionals that they are, giving them curriculum to meet real teaching needs and inviting them into a vibrant intellectual community of like-minded educators.

I have attended countless workshops during my twenty year teaching career, but few compare to the quality of instruction, experience, and curriculum offered by BioBuilder.”

Sherry, Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School, IN

I love telling everyone how much you and the BioBuilder organization provide for us. I get so excited showing your website to everyone with the cool primers and animations, easy to follow procedures, assessments and rubrics. Thank you for inspiring us!”

Orenda, Crescenta Valley High School, CA
States in 2014 with BioBuilder teachers
BioBuilder Teacher #s in 2014