Carolina Biological Supply Company and BioBuilder team up again to provide a flexible, hands-on, lab kit that illuminates the vital scientific property of fluorescence, teaches key ideas about measurement and -- at $9/kit -- doesn't break the bank.

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The collaboration between BioBuilder and Carolina Biological Supply Company has resulted in some amazing resources, including their newest bioengineering lab kit:

BioBuilder® Guiding Light: Measuring and Analyzing Fluorescence

The kit guides students through an examination of the relationship between fluorescence intensity and the concentration of fluorescent molecules in the material being tested. Why fluorescence, you ask?

There are an abundance of living organisms that have fluorescence – think about the jelly fish that can turn super bright. In only the last few decades have scientists started harnessing the power of fluorescence in research, medical applications, and bioengineering. Some examples of how fluorescence is being used today are:

  • Adding a fluorescent molecule to a protein to enable visual tracking of the protein’s location and role within a cell or organism.
  • Fluorescent biosensors provide information on changes to intracellular conditions and extracellular environments.
  • Fluorescent tags are added to bacterial cultures to distinguish between target and non-target species.

BioBuilder’s newest lab kit is suitable for students from middle school through college. It asks them to measure, compare, and predict fluorescence levels of solutions they prepare, as well as evaluate the fluorescence of common items such as flower petals, highlighters, cooking oils, and so forth.

Students evaluate their data and prepare a standard curve to quantify the relationships they discover, giving them the ability to determine the concentration of fluorescent molecules in other samples based on their measured fluorescence.

GFP ribbon diagram

The Maiden Voyage of the Guiding Light kit

Some of the first students to try these kits will be those in Massachusetts middle and high schools. The kits will be featured in the CELLCRAFT biodesign challenge that BioBuilder is offering during Massachusetts STEM Week happening October 18 to 22, 2021.

The STEM Week activities help “boost the interest, awareness, and ability for all learners to envision themselves in STEM education and employment opportunities, and compliment the formal instruction happening in the Commonwealth beyond STEM week.”

The MA STEM week activity will be lead by Dr. Racquel Kim Sherwood. Racquel describes herself as an “animal loving, clay throwing scientist” — who also loves teaching. Not only is she a Business Development Manager for the life science company, Qiagen, but she also helped develop the new BioBuilder kit and will be leading students through it at the MA STEM Week event in October.

She tells us, “I am passionate about STEM and grateful to have been offered a chance to present.”

Racquel’s journey from high school science camps to her PhD from Brown University to working in the life science industry and teaching for BioBuilder is capture in our Career Conversation. Check it out here.

"Guiding Light" expands our collection of Carolina-provided kits

We are so excited to provide yet another bioengineering lab experience for aspiring STEM students and those who have yet to catch the excitement!

Dr. Natalie Kuldell, BioBuilder’s Founder and Executive Director, got a VERY early start on Friday, September 17. At 3:30am she boarded a chartered bus that would take her to the New York Stock Exchange for Ginkgo Bioworks’ Initial Public Offering day!

It was an exciting day as Ginkgo’s NYSE ticker symbol – $DNA – was launched to raucous cheers from traders, colleagues, family, and friends.

The $DNA ticker clearly represents the nature of Ginkgo’s work. Known as “The Organism Company,” Ginkgo was founded in 2008 based on the knowledge that biology is the most advanced manufacturing technology on planet Earth. Ginkgo bioengineers custom design microorganisms that provide new products and processes for countless applications – from therapeutics to food, cosmetics to agriculture, and much more.

The festivities began with a welcome ceremony hosted by the NYSE in their board room. At 9:30 sharp, Ginkgo founders rang the opening bell with gusto!

But that wasn’t the end of the excitement. At noon, the party moved to Times Square where the Ginkgo logo took over the digital display that covers the side of the American Eagle Building. The sight of that Ginkgo leaf proudly flashing in famous Times Square will be remembered for years to come!

The revelers rounded off the day at Pig Beach BBQ along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn. They shared their stories and happiness in the events of the day as they enjoyed lunch and an early happy hour.

Then it was off to catch their buses for the ride home. When Dr. Kuldell arrived back in Boston at 11pm, she was exhausted but still exhilarated from the day’s events. But it was worth the early morning and late evening to share in Ginkgo’s IPO and celebration.



Great things are ahead for both Ginkgo and BioBuilder – all based on DNA!

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