Veni Dole is currently studying Chemical Engineering at Columbia University, but as a high school student she participated in BioBuilder’s BioBuilderClub at Andover High School. The team project she worked on addressed plastic bottles that pollute the ocean. Their design used salt as a trigger for bacterial production of pETase, allowing microbes under the bottle’s label to dissolve the plastic. The work not led her to research what has become a hot topic in biotechnology but also to speak with many leaders in the field, who offered ideas and reagents in support of the project. The BioBuilderClub idea was entered in the CleanTech competition, where it made the list of finalists, and was published in BioTreks, a peer-reviewed journal for high school synthetic biologists.
Veni credits BioBuilder for introducing her to synthetic biology, for the helpful framework that enabled her imagined solution to take shape, and for stimulating her interest in entrepreneurship. Though high school is already a few years in the rear view mirror, Veni vividly remembers presenting her team’s project to the startup companies at LabCentral in Cambridge, MA as part of the BioBuilderClub Final Assembly.
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