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Synthetic Biology Teacher Workshop

July 25 @ 9:00 am - July 29 @ 4:00 pm

This five-day-long workshop for biology teachers will provide hands-on training in basic recombinant DNA technology and synthetic biology. Workshop participants will employ mini-versions of standard laboratory equipment to implement a series of molecular and synthetic biology methods to generate a recombinant DNA construct. The techniques covered in the workshop include plasmid DNA isolation, gel electrophoresis, restriction digest, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Circular Polymerase Extension Cloning (CPEC), competent cell preparation, bacterial transformation, and blue-white selection of bacterial colonies. The modules you will learn have been beta-tested in the hands of 43 AP Bio students at Athens Drive High School in Raleigh.

Besides receiving hands-on training, workshop attendees will participate in several information sessions on available molecular cloning technologies (SLIC/Gibson/SLiCE and type II S methods Golden Gate/TNT/MoClo/GoldenBraid), synthetic genetic devices, metabolic engineering, synthetic cells, and practical SynBio applications (from healthcare to warfare).  The Registry of Synthetic Parts and the iGEM competition will be introduced to alert the teachers about potential avenues for their students to pursue. The workshop will conclude with a discussion on the future of the SynBio field, its promise to provide solutions to everyday challenges, and on ethical considerations.

Grade Level(s): High School Science
Contact(s): Scott Ragan – By email at or by phone at 919-515-5610.

Cost:The workshop is free! Participants will receive an honorarium ($100/day) for attendance for a total of $500 for full participation.

Academic Year Support: After the workshop, the mini-equipment, lab supplies, and reagents will be made available to all trained teachers free of charge on a two-week rental basis from our small equipment lending library. This would enable trained teachers to apply their newly acquired molecular skills in their owns classrooms. The experimental modules taught at the workshop can be implemented in the context of Biology curriculum units on Evolution and Genetics (to facilitate teaching the concepts of structure and function of DNA and DNA technologies) and/or Molecular Biology (to demonstrate the Central Dogma of Biology).

Application Process: Space is limited to 16 high school biology teachers or pre-service teachers who plan to teach biology upon graduation. Interested teachers are encouraged to apply at the link below.

Application Deadline: All applications received by March 15, 2022 will be considered and selected participants will be notified by April 1, 2022. Important Notes: 1) Applications are accepted using NC State University’s REPORTER registration system. If you have not previously used REPORTER you can sign up for a free account and log into the system as a Guest (for individuals external to NC State). Only your name and email address are required to sign up for an account. 2) This opportunity is open to both pre-service and in-service teachers. As such if a registration question does not apply to you simply note the question is “not applicable” when completing the application.


July 25 @ 9:00 am
July 29 @ 4:00 pm


Scott Ragan


NC State
Thomas Hall
Raleigh, NC 27607 United States
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