Synthetic Biology Teacher Workshop

Grade Level(s): High School Science

Date(s): July 25-29, 2022

Location: Thomas Hall, NC State University's Central Campus, Raleigh, NC

Cost: Stipend provided - see details below

Description: 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.


The workshop will be held July 25-29, 2022. Anticipated workshop hours will be from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM each day.


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

Campus Housing 

Housing will be provided for anyone more than 35 miles from campus in dormitory-style accommodations at NC State University, checking in on July 24th and checking out on July 29th. Teachers within the 35 mile radius are expected to commute each day.


Campus parking permits will be provided for each participant.

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 20 high school biology teachers or pre-service teachers who plan to teach biology upon graduation. Interested teachers are encouraged to apply at the link listed below.

Contact(s): Scott Ragan - By email ( or by phone (919-515-5610).

Application Deadline: At this time all workshop spots are full. We will leave the application link below active, but please understand new applicants will be automatically waitlisted. If spots become available we will contact you regarding this opportunity. 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.