Day one: Hands-on practice in synthetic biology

Today was the first day of the course module that the instructors call “Practicals,” rapid one-day courses that guide the students through an essential set of skills for a specific topic within the scope of synthetic biology.

Each student section has 5 – 6 members who receive instruction from a professor and TA during the entire day. The next day, sections rotate onto a different practical. This occurs each day throughout the week. The lab space is divided up into mini-labs so that all practicals can occur simultaneously. It may sound a little complicated, but it is very effective and students love the breadth and depth of the learning experience.

This year, each practical covered the following topics:

Designing and using CRISPR – Chase Beisel (instructor), Scott Collins (TA)

Computational modeling – Howard Salis (instructor), Christian Cuba Samaniego (TA)

Cell-free synthetic biology with TX-TL – Vincent Noireaux (instructor), Ryan Marshall (TA)

Advanced DNA assembly – Lauren Woodruff (instructor), Nate Howitz (TA)



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