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BioBuilder Online

An engaging opportunity for online bioengineering projects that will build social connection, teach real research skills and inspire ongoing interest in STEM

Idea Accelerator Section

Projects for engineering biology online

For students and educators ready to explore the world of synthetic biology, we have lots of ways to get you started, and we’re building more follow-on content that will be available in the months ahead.

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Follow up your ideas with our labs and in person activites


Eau That Smell

In this lab, normally stinky smelling bacteria are made to smell sweet, like bananas. You can learn to grow microbial cells, measure their growth, analyze their genes on a molecular level, and learn basic synthetic biology concepts related to system design and logic gates.


Golden Bread

With this lab you can explore the science, engineering, and bioethics of a yeast that’s genetically modified to make a vitamin-enriched food. Explore how the cell’s “break,” how to fix them, and what they might do in locations where Vitamin A-deficiency affects public health.


iTune Device

This lab focuses on predictable design. You can learn to assess the strength of genetic “parts,” such as promoters and ribosome binding sites, to see how they influence the output of a genetic device.


Picture This

Modeling and design of a genetic circuit is presented through three activities. You’ll learn how a two component sensing system can be modeled and then re-engineered to produce bacterial photographs.


What a Colorful World

In this lab, two cell types are transformed with two color-generating plasmids, a process that is fundamental to genetics and inheritance lessons, molecular biology, and research examining DNA and gene expression.


Bioethics Essay

Synthetic biology has only recently emerged as an engineering discipline. Students are asked to weigh in on the question: Do the potential contributions to society warrant the potential risks inherent in synthetic biology?


Biology By Design

Combining your understanding of science, some engineering know-how and lots of imagination, you will propose a design for a genetic system that could make a significant contribution to life on earth.

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