After celebrating the first anniversary of the new Leaning Lab @ Ginkgo in June 2022, BioBuilder wasted no time in putting the incredible space to good use. It was a jam-packed July that included one high school workshop, one middle school workshop, one workshop for Ginkgo Bioworks professionals, and a two-week teacher professional development training.
Then, on August 3, Congress came to the Learning Lab @ Ginkgo. Jake Auchincloss, U.S. Congressional Representative from Massachusetts, visited that day and met with BioBuilder students, faculty, staff, and supporters. A strong proponent of both life sciences and education, Rep. Auchincloss came to discuss the importance of developing talent for the bioeconomy and to learn more about BioBuilder’s programs that are doing just that.
The Learning Lab @ Ginkgo stayed busy throughout the 2022/2023 academic year with more workshops, BioBuilderClub teams, High School Apprenticeship Challenge students, and more. What a wonderful resource for students, teachers, and the community of synthetic biology professionals and supporters.
In the summer of 2022, BioBuilder enjoyed having two interns who were instrumental in making all of the summer programs run smoothly and working on new experiments for the upcoming school year. Geneva Fischer was a college intern and worked on BioBuilder’s workforce development curriculum and also taught some of our high school students who came through the lab for workshops.
Gunjan Kumar was a high school intern as part of her participation in the BioBuilder High School Apprenticeship Challenge. Gunjan worked on a new CRISPR teaching lab and revised the BioBuilder protocols for workforce development classes. Read more here about these outstanding interns!
In the Autumn of 2022, BioBuilder launched the Student Ambassador Program. The Ambassadors are students who have participated in BioBuilderClub, Idea Accelerator, or High School Apprenticeship Challenge. Ambassadors educate and inspire their communities – located anywhere across the globe – by sharing their experiences and stories of how our life-changing science has impacted them. Learn more here about the Student Ambassadors Program and how to apply to become an Ambassador.
In October 2022, Boston’s King Street Properties celebrated the groundbreaking of Allston Labworks. The life science campus will include 534,000 square feet of lab space to accommodate the modern life science industry and cutting-edge technologies. A key highlight of the Allston Labworks development is a Learning Lab – a science laboratory and classroom space hosting educational programs for regional students and our ever-growing life sciences industry. King Street has partnered with BioBuilder to run the Learning Lab. We can’t wait to start sharing another stellar learning facility with our students!
Also in October was the publication of the 2022 issue BioTreks journal. Of the 16 student-authored articles selected for publication, 14 of them were by BioBuilderClub teams! Now that is something to celebrate!
On October 27th, BioBuilder participated in the Growing the Future symposium hosted by the ETSU Research Corporation. at East Tennessee State University. Speakers and participants included a “who’s who” in the federal, commercial, and nonprofit space — powerfully showcasing some of the BioBuilder-initiated momentum for a bioeconomy in East Tennessee, as well as the untapped potential just waiting to be realized.
After the symposium, Mary Tamer, President of BioBuilder’s Board of Directors, said, “Visiting ETSU in Johnson City and Kingsport was an incredible experience, and I have told anyone who will listen about the innovative education work happening in Tennessee right now!”
In late 2022, BioBuilder was awarded a two-year grant from Schmidt Futures to help expand synthetic biology education and grow the bioeconomy in the U.S. BioBuilder will use the capacity-building grant to develop a template that can be adapted and strategically applied to replicate the workforce pipeline BioBuilder has fostered in the rural Appalachia area of East Tennessee. Learn more here about the strategy BioBuilder is using to help advance the bioeconomy throughout the U.S.
In March 2023, BioBuilder and Worcester, MA, Public Schools celebrated the success of this year’s graduates of the Innovation Pathways Program (IPP). Fourteen students received their Biotech and Biomanufacturing Certificates, as well admiration for their hard work and dedication to careers in biotechnology and biomanufacturing! Learn more here about this innovative early career program.
Also in March, the years’ BioBuilderClub teams presented their research at the Final Assembly and were in turn celebrated for their hard work and innovative thinking. This year’s class grew to 30 teams and included three teams from Taiwan and 27 teams from the U.S. They all focused on developing innovative ways to address a wide range of challenges facing humanity and planet Earth. Read more about their inspiring work!
May was a month of celebration at BioBuilder as the 2023 High School Apprenticeship Challenge students presented their research and graduated from the program. Each year, the Apprenticeship Challenge enrolls high school students who are committed to exploring careers in the life sciences. The students are recommended by their teachers from schools throughout the metro-Boston area.
This year’s class included 19 high school students from 12 public schools completing the rigorous curriculum. Read more about these incredible teams and their innovative work.
BioBuilder is thrilled to welcome three new instructors to the team – Hellen Huong, Mark Cherepashinsky, and Loran Gliford. All three are graduate students at Boston University and were trained for BioBuilder teaching by Chris Kuffner as part of our work with BU’s STEM Pathways program.
This spring Hellen joined BioBuilder as a teaching fellow. She is a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University, specializing in the field of synthetic biology. Her research focuses on engineering optogenetics systems in bacteria cells to investigate the impact of single-cell behavior on population resistance towards antibiotics.
Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Hellen worked as a Technical Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a DNA nanoparticle lab. In this role, she employed synthetic biology techniques to assess and increase the stability of DNA nanoparticles for potential therapeutic applications. Hellen completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, earning a dual degree in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Neuroscience.
Mark joined BioBuilder as a teaching fellow in June 2023. He completed his B.S. in Biology at SUNY Stony Brook University, where he taught as a biology lab instructor after graduation. He then joined the LEAP program at Boston University to pursue an M.S. in Biomedical Engineering. Mark is part of the Yang Lab, where his research focuses on computational electrophysiology and neuromodulation using microwave metamaterials to inhibit pain signaling. He plans to continue working in with the Cheng Lab at Boston University researching glucose metabolism via mid-infrared photothermal microscopy. Mark will be defending his thesis in July 2023.
Loran also joined the BioBuilder team as a teaching fellow this spring. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with new generations of future scientists and has a passion for synthetic biology and biotechnology. Loran is currently a graduate student in the Pratt lab at Boston University. Her research focuses on the development of synthetic peptide probes to monitor enzyme activity in live cells. She received her B.S. in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Rhode Island in 2020 and spent two years as a Post-baccalaureate Fellow at the National Institutes of Health before starting her Ph.D. at Boston University.
We are delighted to welcome these talented and passionate young professionals to the BioBuilder Teaching Team!