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BioBuilder covers the emerging discipline of synthetic biology, a field that's forcing us to reconsider our relationship to the natural living world. In a future where technicians can write genomes from scratch and print them at will, there's a critical need for a textbook that makes the systematic engineering approach to biology transparent. Based on the BioBuilder curriculum, developed at MIT in collaboration with award-winning high school teachers, BioBuilder provides open-access, modular, hands-on lessons in synthetic biology for secondary and post-secondary classrooms and laboratories. Further content is available through in-person teacher training programs around the US. Ideal for the hundreds of BioBuilder teachers using this curriculum around the country, as well as the growing audience of educators in biotech clubs and informal education settings, BioBuilder is written for students as well, with text and illustrations they'll find relevant.
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.