Getting Started

Below is some information you’ll need to know before registering your team. When you’re ready, sign up through the online form linked to the “Join the Club” button.

What are the benefits of joining the BioBuilderClub?

At BioBuilder, we offer current biological engineering challenges so everyone can experience scientific problem solving in the context of authentic and meaningful investigations. Students feel like real scientists and envision their future selves as innovators who will change the world. At BioBuilder, we also empower teachers throughout the nation to be agents of educational reform by reconnecting them with their love of teaching and their own love of learning.

What can I expect in 2016—17?

  • The 2016—17 club will be limited to US teams.
  • BioBuilderClub events will be posted on the website here!
  • We’ll host 4 virtual group meetings that can be accessed from home computers. These are an opportunity for the teacher leader and one student from the team to meet other club participants as well as practicing scientists and engineers to work on projects together.
  • We’ll host an October Kick-off event and a March Final Assembly event in or around Cambridge, MA. Both can be accessed in person or virtually.
  • Monthly E-newsletters that feature BioBuilderClubs at different schools, interesting journal articles or weblinks, and STEM career opportunities.
  • Participating teams will get a “welcome kit” that includes a copy of the BioBuilder textbook, a lab kit from Wards to carry out a bacterial transformation, access to some free reagents from New England BioLabs, and a modest budget for project development to apply to DNA synthesis requests or poster printing. These are sent to teams with websites in place.

Who’s on a team?

We’re flexible! We welcome teams, large or small, made up of teens and high school teachers. Teams have had anywhere from 3 to 20 members with one or two teacher leaders. If teams have a chance to collaborate with a nearby college or university, we’re all for it!

What does it cost to participate?

First-year participants: $50
After Oct 1: $100
After Oct 13 (kickoff): $150

Second-year participants*: $25
After Oct 1: $100
After Oct 13 (kickoff): $150

Third-year participants*: Registration fee waived
After Oct 1: $100
After Oct 13 (kickoff): $150

*Consecutive year participation through the Final Assembly.

Should our project match our budget or is some additional funding available?

Teams have taken different approaches in the past. Some teams choose to read a lot and discuss bioengineering projects, while other teams get their hands dirty and complete a few of the activities or portions of their project ideas.

Thanks to support from sponsors of the BioBuilderClub, there is a small additional budget for each team to do some building, but teams who wish to build more and go deep with the content may want to raise funds and budget for additional lab materials.

All teams will have the opportunity at our Final Assembly in March to present proposals for additional funding the following club year. More details about this opportunity will be provided during the school year.

Are there any logistics I should know about?

  • The 2016-2017 club will be limited to US teams.
  • BioBuilderClub events will be posted on the website here!
  • On this website, we have a “Teams” page so you can share what you do with the world. Send us the link to your team’s website before the October kickoff event with a team photo, a short description of your club and any project ideas you have. We’re here to support you if your team needs help getting a webpage started.
  • A $50 registration fee will support the BioBuilderClub’s continued growth, but discounts are available for returning teams. Year Two teams will receive a 50% discount. Registration fees will be waived for teams in Year Three and beyond.
  • We want to spread the word about your great work so all participants will need to submit a photo release form and a biosafety form so we know you’re working safely there.

What will I need to get started?

The BioBuilderClub welcomes all teams, regardless of access to molecular biology laboratory facilities.

For teams wanting to DESIGN a biotechnology, you will need:

  • A teacher to lead the club.
  • At least one student to participate.
  • A good idea.
  • Some understanding of DNA as the coding language for cells.
  • Access to a computer and the internet.
  • Establish a team website (page) that will be linked from the “Teams” page on this website.

For teams wanting to DESIGN and BUILD a biotechnology, you will need:

  • All the above plus,
  • Some basic biology laboratory equipment such as glassware, pipets, a water bath or heat block to heat samples, an icebucket or styrofoam cup to cool samples, 4C fridge and ice-cold freezer (ideally to -20C) to store samples, a stir plate to mix samples, and an incubator to grow samples (though room temperature can work too). Some experiments might need a chemical hood, depending on what you are building.
  • some basic consumable laboratory equipment such as pipet tips, plastic tubes, growth media, petri dishes, toothpicks, spreaders, sterile loops, bleach or the like for decontamination and disposal of bioreagents.

For teams wanting to DESIGN and BUILD and TEST a biotechnology, you will need:

  • All the above plus
  • some additional basic biology laboratory equipment such as electrophoresis chambers, spectrophotometer, PCR machine
  • Some additional consumable laboratory equipment such as gel running buffers, loading buffers, stains to visualize DNA or proteins, cuvettes, PCR master mix, autoclave for sterilizing reagents

How do I join?

The join button below will take you to the online form and you can get started! For questions, please email our operations manager, Carla.
Please note Registration fees change after Oct 1, and again on Oct 13.