Professional Development Workshops

Learn to engineer biology!

teacher workshops learning how to bring engineering into your biology classroom

BioBuilder is bringing tomorrow’s science into today’s classrooms. The BioBuilder Professional Development 3-Day Workshops will impact your understanding of biology AND your approach to teaching.

A mixture of classroom, laboratory and design activities provide a professional development experience that is both accessible and inspiring. You’ll leave with ready-to-teach lessons that bring engineering into your biology classrooms, labs or science clubs.

Registration is on a rolling basis. Workshops fill up quickly, so register early to secure your place!

Workshops hours are from 9:00 am—5:00 pm or 10:00 am—4:00 pm, depending on location. For an example of a typical day, see the schedule below.

Registration fees include full tuition, lunch each day, a copy of the BioBuilder textbook, and written materials.

Cost: Workshop tuition is $400 per person when registered by April 1, 2017. A $50 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of online registration, with the balance due 4 weeks prior to the workshop. The tuition goes up to $500 after April 1st. (*See note below regarding the workshop at Northwestern University.)

Scholarships are available. Use this email address to request an application form.


2017 Summer Workshops COMING SOON!

Massachusetts Workshop

3-day workshop 45 PDPs
MIT, Cambridge, MA

$400/per person

Missouri Workshop

3-day workshop 45 PDPs
Chesterfield Village Research Center, Chesterfield, MO
July 18 - 20, 2017
$400/per person

New York Workshop

3-day workshop 45 PDPs
Rockefeller University, New York City, NY
July 11 - 13, 2017
$400/per person

Illinois Workshop

3-day workshop 45 PDPs
Northwestern, Evanston, IL (Separate application process in Spring, 2017)
July 26 - 28, 2017
$0 (Baxter-sponsored)/per person

Before starting your application, please carefully read the details on this webpage about the application process, including the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section below.

There are several steps to the online registration process, including:

  • Select a workshop location/date, enter your contact information and school/organization information
  • Read the release form and check the box that you have read and agree to it
  • It should take you about 20-30 minutes to complete the registration form.
  • Submit a $50 non-refundable deposit or full workshop payment through PayPal or by check

After you submit your application and payment, you will receive an automatic confirmation by email, providing with you a link and password to a Workshop Resources webpage with additional details about workshop logistics.

*The workshop at Northwestern University Workshop is offered at no cost to participating teachers, thanks to generous support from the Biotechnology Center of Excellence (BCoE). The BCoE has a separate online application process. We will post their application website on our website once it becomes available in Spring, 2017.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does registration open?

January 2, 2017

We have a rolling admissions process. Space is limited at each workshop, and attendance is reserved on a first-come, first-served basis through payment of the $50 registration deposit.

Are the workshops geared toward high school, middle school teachers, elementary, or university level teachers?

The workshops are geared mainly toward high school school teachers, but all teachers are welcome. In the past, we have also had participants from educational organizations, government, and non-profits doing work related to STEM education. All are welcome!

What are the class sizes?

The average workshop has 15—20 participants. Class sizes range by location, and some are capped at a lower number due to laboratory space limitations.

Can I take the workshop and modify the activities back in my classroom?

Yes! The BioBuilder curriculum was designed in a modular format so that teachers may take portions that they need and modify as desired, both for classroom and lab settings.

How much does it cost to attend a 3-day workshop?

Workshop tuition is $400 when registration is completed before April 1, 2017. A $50 non-refundable deposit is required at the time of online registration, with the balance due 4 weeks prior to the workshop. The tuition fee increases to $500 per workshop after April 1. (See question below regarding the free workshop at Northwestern University.)

What is included in the cost?

Participants are provided with lunch for all three days, a copy of the BioBuilder textbook, and a binder with handouts of the workshop material covered. Workshop registration fees also cover consumable laboratory materials, instruction, and operational support.

What is the payment process?

Upon completing your online registration, you will be directed to PayPal to pay the $50 non-refundable registration deposit to hold your place at the workshop location you have selected.  You may also opt to pay in full at this time through PayPal ($400 if registered by April 1; $500 after that time).

Any teacher requesting financial assistance MUST register and pay the $50 deposit for a workshop prior to submitting the scholarship application. The registration deposit fee will not be covered in the scholarship. (See additional Q&A regarding scholarships below.)

For those who wish to request reimbursement of workshop costs from your school or organization, we require that you pay in full in advance, through personal credit card via PayPal or by check, and we will provide a receipt you can submit to your school / organization for reimbursement.

We are unable to issue Purchase Orders. To pay by check, select “check” as the method of payment (during the online registration process), and then an invoice will be emailed to you with instructions.

Payment must be received in full 4 weeks prior to the start of the workshop.

I don’t have a PayPal account. How can I register and pay by credit card?

You don’t need to have a PayPal account in order to pay by credit card using PayPal.

Do you have scholarships available?

Yes! To request a scholarship application, please send an email to with the subject line: “Request for Summer Workshop Scholarship Form.” The scholarship application will be emailed to you, along with decision dates for awards.

Scholarship support for certain BioBuilding workshops is available only to U.S. citizens and permanent residents due to restrictions mandated by U.S. federal funding agencies. Travel support is not available to any applicant.

Any teacher requesting financial assistance MUST register and pay the $50 deposit for a workshop prior to submitting the scholarship application. The registration deposit fee will not be covered in the scholarship. The scholarship amount awarded will be based upon the availability of funding.

Scholarships will be awarded on a rolling basis, in bi-weekly periods. We will notify you of our decision within a few days after the decision date.

Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident to register for the workshop?

No. All are welcome to register for the workshops, including participants from other countries. Scholarships, if requested, are only available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents.

What is the difference between the workshops held at various locations?

Summer workshops all follow roughly the same format. All workshops are taught by two trained BioBuilder instructors who teach the core BioBuilder curriculum through engaging lectures and hands-on labs. There can be slight modifications in lecture and lab content, based on the interest and expertise of the instructors and attendees.

Who will teach the classes?

All workshops are taught by two trained BioBuilder instructors, one of whom is a university faculty member (or grad student), the other a high school teacher experienced in utilizing the BioBuilder curriculum. Instructors’ bios are included in the brochures that are downloadable from each workshop location link.

Is it possible to receive graduate credit for these courses?

BioBuilder is not authorized to offer graduate credit. However, participants will receive a certificate stating that the participant has “completed 21 hours of professional development hours through a three-day workshop” held at (the workshop location).

What if I cannot attend the workshop for which I have registered?

If your plans change so that you are unable to attend the workshop for which you have registered, please send us an email as soon as possible. The $50 deposit paid at the time of registration is non-refundable. If you had elected to pay in full at the time of registration, the full amount less the deposit will be refunded to you.

How will I know that my entire application is complete?

You will receive an automated email once your registration is complete. In this email, you will be given a website link and password to a “Workshop Resources” page. This web page will have updated information for all workshop locations, including logistics and additional details.

Logistics: Hotel and Travel. Where do I find information about parking, suggested lodging, and other travel information?

Please find logistical information on the password-protected “Workshop Resources” webpage, the link to which is emailed to participants upon completion of registration. This area will be updated as the workshop date nears, so please refer back to this site before traveling to your workshop.

What do I need to bring to the workshop?

Please bring your ID, as some locations may request ID upon arrival. It would be helpful to bring a laptop, if you have one.

What is the dress code?

As workshops are 50/50 laboratory and classroom environments, please be sure to wear closed-toe shoes and pants for the laboratory setting. Lab coats will be available.

Will I have any free time during the workshop?

Not much. Please plan to be fully present from approximately 9:00 am—4:00 pm. (Note that some workshops may start and end at slightly different times—to be posted on the schedule in the “Workshop Resources” page for registered participants.) Depending on location, there may be some lunchtime speakers scheduled.

Food – can I bring in my own food? Are lunches provided? What if I have dietary restrictions?

Lunch will be provided daily for all participants. During the registration process we ask participants to list any dietary restrictions, and will do our best to order food that will avoid any listed restrictions. As far as bringing in your own food, most facilities allow snacks and drinks to be brought into the classroom setting.

Typical Schedule

Details will vary from location to location.
Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Recap Day 1
Recap Day 2
Lecture #1
What is Synthetic Biology
Lecture #3
Lecture #6
Standardization and Measurement
Lecture #2
Eau d’coli
Lecture #4
Specifying a system with parts and devices
Plasmid Construction Activity/ Electronics Build for Picture This!
EHS training
Brainstorming System Ideas
BioBuilder Lab:
Eau that Smell
BioBuilder Lab:
What a Colorful World
Data Analysis for Colorful World experiment
Data Analysis
Lecture #5
Picture This! Introduction
BioBuilder Lab:
Picture This! Electronics
BioBuilder Lab Prep Training
BioBuilder Lab: Golden Bread