Getting Started

Below is some information you’ll need to know before registering your team. When you’re ready, click the “Join the Club” button below.

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 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 2017—18?

  • An October kick-off event, four virtual group meetings and a March “Final Assembly” all of which will be accessible virtually or in person for teams who can travel to Cambridge MA.
  • A STEM mentor specifically assigned to support the team with their project ideas.
  • Monthly newsletters featuring profiles of BioBuilderClub participants, journal articles, and STEM career opportunities.
  • First-year teams will receive a “welcome kit” that includes a copy of the BioBuilder textbook and a lab kit to carry out a bacterial transformation.  Returning teams will receive the BioBuilder e-book and option for a kit refill. Access to free reagents from New England BioLabs, and a modest budget for project development to apply to DNA synthesis may be available by request.

Note:  Kit / lab materials are included in the registration fee for US teams only, due to international shipping issues. International teams may inquire directly with our kit supplier, Carolina Biological, about the possibility to purchase kits in their particular country.

Who’s on a team?

We welcome large or small teams (3 to 20 members) comprised of teens and one or two high school teachers as leaders. Some teams collaborate with a nearby college or university, but it is not required and most teams do not.

What does it cost to participate?

Early bird registration:  Sign up by September 30

First-year participants: $200 per team – includes mailed BioBuilder book and kit

Second-year participants*: $150 per team – includes BioBuilder e-book and kit refill

Third-year+ participants*: $100 per team – includes BioBuilder e-book and kit refill. Registration fee WAIVED if no lab materials are requested for mailing.

Registration fees increase for all teams, as follows:

After Sept 30: $300 per team
After Oct 19 (kickoff): $400 per team

*Consecutive year participation through the Final Assembly.

Are there additional costs?
From Kickoff to Final Assembly, teams are supported with in person and online expertise to guide their work. For teams who want to build their project ideas, New England Biolabs provides some free reagents (US teams only). Beyond those materials and the BioBuilder kit sent to new participants (US teams only), each team is responsible for supplying lab materials should they want to build their project idea.

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.
  • All participants will need to submit a media / photo release form and a biosafety consent form.

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 that registration fees increase after September 30, and again on October 19.