Teachers play a pivotal role in all BioBuilder programs. This includes those teaching in classrooms around the globe and those in BioBuilder’s Learning Lab @ Ginkgo. Think of the student success stories shared in BioBuilder’s blog, podcast, and other media, and try to imagine any of them happening without teachers. It just wouldn’t be possible.

This month (and year-round), we celebrate the teachers that are helping students pursue their dreams of learning and mastering biotechnology in their education and beyond!

More Teachers = More Students

The only way to get more students involved in biotech education is to have more high school science teachers who understand and support it. BioBuilder helps teachers do just that with professional development workshops and collaborative training opportunities. Here are a few recent and upcoming teacher training events.

BioTechBuilder Training Debuts in Tennessee


BioBuilder’s newest curriculum, BioTechBuilder, is designed to equip high school students with the knowledge, skills, professional certifications, and micro-credentials they need to be career ready. Imagine already having professional credentials when you graduate from high school!

The Northeast Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub is wasting no time getting local teachers trained to teach BioTechBuilder. The Niswonger Foundation, bioSTEM, and BioBuilder are currently collaborating to provide teacher professional development workshops focused on BioTechBuilder. Stay tuned for more details!

U.S. Army Synbio High School Teacher Workshop

The U.S. Army DEVCOM Soldier Center develops innovative science and technology solutions to help optimize the performance of soldiers. To support this mission, the National Defense Education Program promotes STEM education, outreach, and workforce development. This summer, DEVCOM is hosting a synthetic biology high school teacher workshop and BioBuilder will be there to support them.

The 5-day workshop will be held in Boston and includes one day of learning at BioBuilder’s Learning Lab @ Ginkgo. BioBuilder teaching fellows will provide an overview of the new BioTechBuilder curriculum and demonstrate some of the skills students will gain from it. Teachers from 15 school districts are attending the workshop and will undoubtedly come away with knowledge and skills they can pass on to their students!


BioBuilder’s Summer Professional Development Workshops

BioBuilder is conducting two 2-week summer workshops that are easily accessible for all teachers. The workshops include classroom and laboratory activities through a social, online platform. During the two-week window, teachers can participate from anywhere, pacing the lectures, readings, and assignments to fit their learning needs. Even online, teachers can still expect to interact with other teachers, receive feedback from the instructors, and gain hands-on experience with BioBuilder labs.

Participants receive a copy of the BioBuilder textbook, access to all presentation slides, one lab kit per school, and a synchronous demonstration of the lab kit by BioBuilder instructors via Zoom. Wow! It’s no wonder that teachers from five U.S. states have already registered for a workshop.

and Dr. Kuldell zooms here, there, and everywhere!

BioBuilder’s founder and Executive Director, Dr. Natalie Kuldell, is a guest lecturer this summer at events in the southeastern U.S. She will share biotechnology and BioBuilder with teachers at a professional development workshop held by the Frugal Science Academy in Georgia. She will also do so at a summer workshop presented by the Advanced Placement Institute at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Do you sense that some of those teachers will be in future BioBuilder summer workshops? 😉

More Students = More Teachers

As more teachers are trained and bring BioBuilder to their students, more students are registering for BioBuilder workshops. In turn, more BioBuilder teaching fellows are needed to run the student workshops! Ahhh, what a beautiful challenge to have!

BioBuilder recently trained and certified six new Teaching Fellows to meet the growing demand for hands-on workshops. Meet the newest BioBuilder teachers who will be mentoring a growing number of students toward biotechnology careers.

Katie Kimbrell

Katie Kimbrell_headshot

Katie is a multidisciplinary scientist with a passion for education. With a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Brandeis University and 2.5+ years of industry experience in translational studies she welcomes the chance to bring her love of science and her wealth of experiences to teach at BioBuilder.

Noreen Lyell

Noreen Lyell_headshot

Noreen earned her Ph.D. in microbiology from the University of Georgia. Throughout her time as a graduate student, she taught extensively as a Teaching Assistant and as an Instructor of Record for several undergraduate courses. While completing her post-doctoral research at Tufts University she developed her own laboratory-based courses as an Adjunct Faculty member at Boston College. Currently she is a Senior Lecturer at MIT teaching courses focused on best practices in experimentation and science communication. Noreen is excited to work with the BioBuilder program to foster curiosity in younger students!

Becky Meyer

Becky Meyer_headshot

Becky earned her B.S. in biology from Creighton University and her Ph.D. in neuroscience from Emory University. She moved to Boston to work as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School. As a scientist, Becky’s work focused on identifying and characterizing molecular networks which regulate responses to neurotrauma and the progression of neurodegenerative disease. Becky is a lecturer in the department of Biological Engineering at MIT where she teaches classes focused on laboratory skills, scientific communication, and professional development. She is excited to work with students in the Learning Lab to help them develop their own synthetic biology skills!

Joe Switzer

Joe Switzer_headshot

Joe received his B.S. in biomedical engineering from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2018 and has since worked in the biotech industry in protein analytics and cell line development. Along the way he developed a passion for teaching biotech skills through STEM apprenticeship programs. Joe looks forward to sharing new and exciting technologies with aspiring scientists and engineers at BioBuilder!

Shreeharsha Tarikere

Shree Tarikere_headshot

Shree is a molecular biologist with a Ph.D. on the genomics of insect wing development. He worked as a postdoctoral scientist on the gene networks that control insect ovary development at Harvard University and on salamander limb development in a fossil lab at Carleton University. He has experience in effectively communicating complex biology to a variety of audiences and directing college-level courses. He continues to follow his passion in innovating teaching methods and science education through the synthetic biology program at BioBuilder.

Jackie Thompson

Jackie Thompson

Jackie graduated with a B.S. in biochemistry from the University of Southern California in 2020 and moved to Boston soon after to start her career in the biotech industry. As a synthetic biologist, her work has primarily focused on genetically engineering a variety of organisms for therapeutic applications. While she loves working in the lab, Jackie also has a passion for STEM education and looks forward to introducing students to synthetic biology through hands-on experiments in the Learning Lab!

We offer a big THANK YOU to each of these teachers and to all those committed to bringing biotechnology and STEM to their students!

Exciting things are happening in the growing bioeconomies of different U.S. regions, and BioBuilder is supporting them all the way! Here are two recent examples.

North San Joaquin Valley, CA

BEAM Circular logo

BEAM recently announced the availability of Bioindustry Careers Early Exposure Grants to help K-12 schools and community colleges in the North San Joaquin Valley launch programs that introduce students to the bioindustry. A key approach they ask submitters to consider is BioBuilder and it’s new BioTechBuilder curriculum.

BEAM Circular became familiar with BioBuilder through long-time BioBuilder supporter Amin Hajimorad, professor at California State University at Chico. Amin presented BioBuilder to BEAM’s director of workforce development, Eric Neuenfeldt. After seeing the success that BioBuilder programs have in developing workforce-ready students, Neuenfeldt is convinced that BioBuilder is a key partner in BEAM’s efforts.

BioBuilder is proud to partner with BEAM Circular to advance the bioeconomy of the North San Joaquin Valley on behalf of its people, businesses, and environment!

Eric and Amin at BEAM

East Tennessee and Great Lakes Region

Issues Journal (NASEM)

The National Academies of Science publishes the journal called Issues in Science and Technology, which invited BioBuilder’s Natalie Kuldell and Chloe Franklin to publish the article “Needed: A Vision and Strategy for Biotech Education.” The article highlights the role BioBuilder has played in the East Tennessee regional bioeconomy and how it can help other regions, such as the Great Lakes Region, prepare for and develop their bioeconomies.