BioBits™ Bright: A fluorescent synthetic biology education kit

Jessica C. Stark, Ally Huang, Peter Q. Nguyen, Rachel S. Dubner, Karen J. Hsu, Thomas C. Ferrante, Mary Anderson, Ada Kanapskyte, Quinn Mucha, Jessica S. Packett, Palak Patel, Richa Patel, Deema Qaq, Tyler Zondor, Julie Burke, Thomas Martinez, Ashlee Miller-Berry, Aparna Puppala, Kara Reichert, Miriam SchmidLance Brand, Lander R. Hill, Jemima F. Chellaswamy, Nuhie Faheem, Suzanne Fetherling, Elissa Gong, Eddie Marie Gonzalzles, Teresa Granito, Jenna Koritsaris, Binh Nguyen, Sujud Ottman, Christina Palffy, Angela Patel, Sheila Skweres, Adriane Slaton, Ta Rhonda Woods, Nina Donghia, Keith Pardee, James J. Collins*, Michael C. Jewett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Synthetic biology offers opportunities for experiential educational activities at the intersection of the life sciences, engineering, and design. However, implementation of hands-on biology activities in classrooms is challenging because of the need for specialized equipment and expertise to grow living cells. We present BioBits™ Bright, a shelf-stable, just-add-water synthetic biology education kit with easy visual outputs enabled by expression of fluorescent proteins in freeze-dried, cell-free reactions. We introduce activities and supporting curricula for teaching the central dogma, tunable protein expression, and design-build-test cycles and report data generated by K-12 teachers and students. We also develop inexpensive incubators and imagers, resulting in a comprehensive kit costing <US$100 per 30-person classroom. The user-friendly resources of this kit promise to enhance biology education both inside and outside the classroom.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereaat5107
JournalScience Advances
Volume4
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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