Biobuilder: Synthetic Biology in the Lab (Paperback)
Today's synthetic biologists are in the early stages of engineering living cells to help treat diseases, sense toxic compounds in the environment, and produce valuable drugs. With this manual, you can be part of it. Based on the BioBuilder curriculum, this valuable book provides open-access, modular, hands-on lessons in synthetic biology for secondary and post-secondary classrooms and laboratories. It also serves as an introduction to the field for science and engineering enthusiasts.
Developed at MIT in collaboration with award-winning high school teachers, BioBuilder teaches the foundational ideas of the emerging synthetic biology field, as well as key aspects of biological engineering that researchers are exploring in labs throughout the world. These lessons will empower teachers and students to explore and be part of solving persistent real-world challenges.
- Learn the fundamentals of biodesign and DNA engineering
- Explore important ethical issues raised by examples of synthetic biology
- Investigate the BioBuilder labs that probe the design-build-test cycle
- Test synthetic living systems designed and built by engineers
- Measure several variants of an enzyme-generating genetic circuit
- Model bacterial photography that changes a strain's light sensitivity
- Build living systems to produce purple or green pigment
- Optimize baker's yeast to produce ?-carotene
About the Author
Natalie Kuldell is an Instructor in the Department of Biological Engineering at MIT as well as Founder and President of the BioBuilder Educational Foundation. She is an invited speaker at meetings all over the country, ranging from the TEDxBermuda conference in 2013 to national meetings for educators such as NSTA and scientists such as AAAS. Her expertise in synthetic biology and education as well as her scientific background have led to the publication of numerous articles and books. Recent articles include ones that focus on curricular content in synthetic biology, the evaluation of student design competitions, and the public's engagement with biological engineering. Her books include "Genome Refactoring" which she co-authored with Neal Lerner, and an compendium called, "Zinc Finger Proteins: From Atomic Contact to Cellular Function" that she co-edited with Shiro Iuchi. She graduated in 1987 Magna Cum Laude from Cornell University with a BA in Chemistry and received her PhD in Cell and Developmental Biology from Harvard University in 1994. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard Medical School, she joined the faculty at Wellesley College where she taught and developed curriculum in the Department of Biological Sciences. In 2003 she was recruited to MIT as they were launching a new major (Course 20) and new department in Biological Engineering. Her leadership in curriculum development and undergraduate education helped position MIT's program as a prime example of interdisciplinary engineering education, particularly in the area of synthetic biology. Serving as associate director of education for an NSF Engineering Research Center grant, Dr. Kuldell collaborated with award winning high school teachers to collect her MIT synthetic biology teaching materials into modular curricular units appropriate for high school and early college settings. The resulting curriculum, and the non-profit organization that sustains it, is housed at BioBuilder.org. Dr. Kuldell is spending her sabbatical year (2013-2014) as a visiting scholar with the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement, applying the SENCER model for teaching and learning to engineering education in high school and college settings.Rachel Bernstein writes about all areas of science for educational and journalistic venues. She has written news articles for Science, Nature, Cell, and the Los Angeles Times and contributes to the online educational resource Visionlearning. In all of her work she aims to inform and educate by entertaining and telling engaging stories. She also has experience as an editor for PLOS ONE, the largest peer-reviewed journal in the world. A biophysical chemist by training, she received a B.A. in Chemistry in 2005 from University of Pennsylvania, where she also minored in English. In 2011 she completed a Ph.D. in Chemistry at University of California, Berkeley, where she studied protein folding and dynamics. She was also editor-in-chief and managing editor of the Berkeley Science Review, a magazine that shares the wide world of U.C. Berkeley research with broad audiences.Karen Ingram is an artist who uses design and creative direction to promote scientific awareness. A veteran in the world of digital design, Ingram has worked for Campfire, McCann Erikson, and UNICEF, to name a few. Her work has appeared in many publications including Die Gestalten (Berlin), Scientific American, and The FWA, where she was named a "Digital Pioneer." She's written tutorials on digital design for Computer Arts magazine and New Riders publications. She is a co-organizer of Brooklyn-based science cabaret, The Empiricist League and a board member of SXSW Interactive, where she presents topics related to science + art and hosts the SXSW Biohacker Meetup. She is a creative strategy instructor for NYU SHERP's Entrepreneurial Science Journalism course. A member of Genspace (Brooklyn's Community Biotech Lab), Ingram participated in the inaugural "Community Labs" iGEM track in 2014 and will serve as a design track judge in 2015. Ingram is active in Cut/Paste/Grow, a group working at the intersection of biology and design.She participated in the "Designing for Biology" panel at Synbiobeta, London in 2015. As a 2015 Synthetic Biology LEAP (Leadership Excellence Accelerator Program) fellow, Karen is recognized as an emerging leader in synthetic biology.Kathryn M. Hart is a research instructor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Washington University in Saint Louis and a Master Teacher for the BioBuilder Educational Foundation. She helped develop an intensive lab techniques course for undergraduates at the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC), and she teaches professional development and student workshops for BioBuilder. With a background in the biological sciences, she finds teaching biology with an engineering perspective affords unique opportunities for introducing traditional content as well as design-oriented problem solving. Her current research focuses on understanding and engineering protein function and energetics. She received her B.S. in Biology from Haverford College in 2004 and Ph.D. in Chemistry from University of California, Berkeley in 2013.