BioBuilderClub gets a new logo, plus a lot more! Read on to be in-the-know.

New BioBuilderClub logo

The start of the 10th  (!) annual BioBuilderClub season is just around the corner, and this year’s program is set to be better than ever! The 2022-2023 season kicks off on October 3rd – that’s when the high school teams begin six months of designing, building, and testing synthetic biology solutions to real-life challenges. The projects are wholly student-selected and student-driven, and teams get the support of mentors from the bioengineering industry and BioBuilder.

BioBuilderClub

And because BioBuilder is committed to making our life-changing curriculum accessible for all students, the BioBuilderClub is offered at no cost to those schools where 50% or more of the student population is eligible for free or reduced lunch.

For all others, the cost is less than $50 per person for a team of 10 students.

Check out some of the amazing synthetic biology work conducted by previous BioBuilderClub teams.

BioBuilderClub team registration opened on August 15th, so if you are a teacher or other adult team leader, head over to the registration site to get your team set up.

This year, the BioBuilderClub program has exciting new opportunities thanks to a generous new grant. The grant was awarded to BioBuilder-led team with supporting partners Ars Biotechnica, East Tennessee State University (ETSU), and Daicel Arbor Biosciences. The ultimate goal of the grant is to build momentum for biomanufacturing careers nationwide, including in hard-to-reach rural and inner city schools, by increasing awareness of, and participation in, the BioBuilderClub program.

Each year of the two-year grant, 30 to 40 high school teams from across the U.S. will make their synthetic biology dreams a reality through BioBuilderClub, including the new BioManufacturing curriculum. In addition, up to three teams per year will be from rural and inner city high schools in the ETSU region.

That’s a lot of teams, students, teachers, and mentors! 

You may be wondering how the grant team will achieve this lofty goal. Answer: by increasing the awareness and interest of schools, families, students, and communities using a collaborative strategy:

Infographic for BBC collaborations

As with all BioBuilderClub seasons, the student teams will have the opportunity to submit their project manuscript for publication in the peer-reviewed BioTreks journal for high school synthetic biology research. They will also present their work at an online Final Assembly on March 16, 2023, and celebrate their new biotechnology skills and syn-thusiasm!

“My favorite part was that we learned how to do scientific research based on papers, journals, and advice from our mentors. The research we did for our project was far more in depth and advanced than what we would do in a normal high school class, and we feel that we gained a lot from this experience.”

-- 2021 BioBuilderClub student Tweet

Whew! That’s a lot to take in, but remember, it’s all geared toward student success and supporting the bioeconomy. By simultaneously training students and celebrating their achievements, BioBuilderClub increases awareness of biotechnology and biomanufacturing among community stakeholders, including parents of participating students, high school teachers, college admissions officers, and relevant local businesses.

Tyngsborough at poster

Here’s to a fruitful BioBuilderClub Season #10 and a bright future for biomanufacturing!

BioBuilder “goes” to the U.S. Congress

August 3rd was an exciting day at the BioBuilder Learning Lab @ Ginkgo. That day, Jake Auchincloss, U.S. Congressional Representative from Massachusetts, visited the Learning Lab where he met with BioBuilder Educational Foundation students, faculty, staff, and Executive Director Dr. Natalie Kuldell, as well as Ginkgo Bioworks CEO, Dr. Jason Kelly.

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. Dr. Kuldell led a tour of the new Learning Lab that was established in 2021 and is maintained with philanthropic support from Ginkgo Bioworks. The tour was arranged so the Congressman could see this state-of-the-art facility for community engagement, education, and training, and gain a better understanding of BioBuilder’s innovative educational programming.

 

Jason_Natalie_Jake_Apprentices
At the table
Auchincloss at the table with us

Following the tour, Rep. Auchincloss sat down for an in-depth discussion with Dr. Kuldell, Dr. Kelly, and a core group of BioBuilder students. The students talked about their paths to college and careers since participating in BioBuilder’s programs. Dr. Natalie Kuldell walked Rep. Auchincloss through two of BioBuilder’s enrichment programs – the High School Apprenticeship Challenge and the five-day Learning Lab workshops. The central point of the discussion was the urgent need to train a diverse and skilled workforce for the growing bioeconomy, and the challenge of scaling such programming.

The visit and discussions were a positive step toward helping people recognize, value, and support BioBuilder’s model for education and ways to expand its impact in order meet the needs of industry and society.

Many thanks to Rep. Auchincloss for his active participation in advancing this important work.

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