Learn more about biology at Missouri S&T’s BioBuilder workshops

BioBuilder_previewThe local community and Missouri K-12 teachers can learn about the importance of synthetic biology and its role in our everyday lives by attending one of a series of hands-on, interactive summer workshop this July at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Four main events will be held July 26-29, all focusing on synthetic biology – the discipline that combines engineering and biology.

To kick off the events, Missouri S&T will host a BioBuilder workshop July 26-28 to prepare K-12 educators to bring synthetic biology and biological engineering into their classrooms and laboratories. Interested area teachers can register for the course online at biobuilder.org/workshops. Scholarships are available to offset the cost of registration.

The second event, a “Building with Biology” forum, will be held 6:30-8 p.m. Thursday, July 28, in the Carver-Turner Room of the Havener Center. This free public forum will help educate members of the general public on what synthetic biology includes and why it is important that research continues in the field. Building with Biology is a program developed by the Boston Museum of Science and the Minnesota Museum of Science specifically for communicating with the public about synthetic biology. Missouri S&T is one of three schools in the state to receive Building with Biology kits.

“I had a chance to ‘test drive’ several of these activities at various events and I think they are going to be great outreach opportunities,” says Dr. Dave Westenberg, director of the Missouri S&T Building with Biology program and an associate professor of biological sciences. “I can see it doing for biotechnology what Project Lead the Way has done for engineering at Missouri S&T – greatly boosting the number of new students in the field.”

The third event, an “iGEM meet-up” to be held July 28-29, is hosted by Missouri S&T’s chapter of iGEM, the International Genetically Engineered Machine Foundation. Collegiate teams from around the Midwest will present various projects, share ideas and brainstorm and seek collaborations among teams. Educators who participate in the first BioBuilder will have a chance to meet and interact with the students.

The general public is also welcome to attend a hands-on workshop for kids and adults to be held 1:30-3 p.m. Friday, July 29, in the Havener Center atrium. iGEM teams will present various outreach activities and educate kids and young adults on the benefits of studying biology.

Support for the Building with Biology kits and events is provided by Boston Museum of Science, the Minnesota Museum of Science, the Kaleidoscope Discovery Center in Rolla, Missouri, and “Miner Tank” at Missouri S&T.

For more information about the events, email Westenberg at djwesten@mst.edu or call 573-341-4798.