What’s included?

Five (5) hours of asynchronous lectures by Dr. Natalie Kuldell, biodesign assignments, reference materials, feedback on assignments and projects from BioBuilder teaching assistants, weekly live Office Hours, and a Project Showcase.

This program is on demand throughout the academic year. Register your class or yourself for a month that’s right for you! Reach out to info@biobuilder.org for more information!

Want to see some of the great ideas that past Idea Accelerator teams have come up with? Check out the showcase highlight videos >

Our Unique Programming

BioBuilder’s curriculum has been adapted into this introductory online program, helping students learn synthetic biology and put it into practice with their own biodesigns

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about the Idea Accelerator here. If you can’t find the answers here please feel free to contact us (info@biobuilder.org).

What are the benefits of joining the Idea Accelerator?

The Idea Accelerator offers current biological engineering challenges so that students may experience scientific problem-solving in the context of authentic and meaningful investigations.

Students feel like real scientists and may envision themselves as innovators who will change the world. STEM mentors serve as an important resource for teams, and provide a real-world glimpse into the possibilities of STEM research and careers.

The Idea Accelerator also empowers teachers to be agents of educational reform by reconnecting them with their love of teaching and their own love of learning.

Teams work toward projects to be shared with other students in our online showcase.

What can participating classes expect?

Students can expect to engage with materials such as recorded lectures, live Office Hours, interactive discussion boards, and a variety of resources that will be made available each week. We anticipate that students will spend at least 3 hours/week working directly with us and at least as much time working outside of class. In other words, students are likely to spend approximately 6 hours per week on the Idea Accelerator viewing the seminars, completing the assignments and readings, attending the live Zoom Office Hours, contributing to the discussion boards, and collaborating with their project team.

During live Office Hours, which are held on Zoom, students will have the opportunity to ask questions and receive feedback and guidance on their projects. Office Hours are also used as an opportunity to build community among the students, and they are encouraged to participate with their cameras on.

Student groups will have the opportunity to present their project on the last day of the Idea Accelerator during the Project Showcase. They will receive feedback from instructors and peers, and learn about the other exciting projects their peers have been working on.

What start dates are available?

Starting with the 2023-2024 school year, the Idea Accelerator is an “on demand” program. Reach out to us through info@biobuilder.org and we’ll open our teaching platform for your school group.

What does it cost to participate?

Small Group (3 – 10 students) = $250.00

Classroom (11 – 25 students) = $500.00

Educator Observer = $50.00 (Access for an educator to observe the course and materials – no student access will be granted)

**BioBuilder is committed to making our life-changing curriculum accessible for all students. We are offering the Idea Accelerator at NO COST to Title I schools where 40% or more of the student body is eligible for free or reduced lunch (as reported on https://www.publicschoolreview.com/).**

What will I need to get started?

The Idea Accelerator welcomes all teams, regardless of access to molecular biology laboratory facilities. The program is optimized for online, in-person, or hybrid school formats. Students will need to complete a registration process, including agreeing to abide by the BioBuilder Online Code of Conduct and following onboarding procedures to access Canvas, the educational platform that houses our Idea Accelerator content.


How are students supported?

Students are encouraged to take advantage of Office Hours and the online discussion boards to ask questions and get feedback on their ideas as they work on their group projects. Office Hours in particular are a great way for students to ask questions and hear directly from industry experts as well as students and academics in the field.

Is this suitable for a general biology class?

Yes! The Idea Accelerator is a great introduction to biodesign, appropriate for all high school students. This program is also suitable for advanced/honors biology classes.

It is helpful for students to have a basic understanding that DNA is the coding language for a cell. We take an engineering lens to look at life science, and so students learn about the cells and systems that they need to learn about as they try to design a biotechnology to solve a real world challenge.

Is there a place I can find past projects?

Yes! Here are some examples of past Idea Accelerator projects.

I'm a working scientist or engineer. How do I get involved as a volunteer?

We are looking for industry professionals, students, and academics to visit during Office Hours and speak with students! If you are interested in volunteering, please complete this form.

If you have any questions, please send an email to info@biobuilder.org with the subject line “Idea Accelerator Volunteer Inquiry.”


I don't see my question here. What should I do?

You should definitely check out our more extensive FAQ document that’s linked here

And if you’ve still got questions, please reach out to us by email to info@biobuilder.org




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