A United States High School curriculumis centered around fostering innovation, collaboration, integrity and, independence. Our students are encouraged to be outstanding leaders and communicators in all aspectsof their lives – both inside and outside of the classroom. Throughout the USHS there are opportunities for our students to evolve into confident and thoughtful future leaders who can both effortlessly embrace and overcome the challenges they face. One of the most prestigious programs in our USHS – the international Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) team – is delighted to announce a collaborative endeavor with the famous MIT professor of bioengineering and BioBuilder educational foundation president – Dr. Natalie Kuldell. This opportunity for our students to work with such a celebrated individual is a testament to the approach to education, the learners’ attributes, and citizenship that the USHS program values.
娜塔莉库德尔博士 Dr. Natalie Kuldell
Instructor, MIT Department of Biological Engineering
President, The BioBuilder Educational Foundation
A.B., Chemistry, CornellUniversity
Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology, Harvard University
我们热爱科学和社会研究的学生们从去年12月就已经着手开展制定项目计划，我们的队伍目的是构建工程化的微生物从而产出能大量使用在健康食品中的高价值欧米伽-3 脂肪酸。学生们的努力成果有望通过在今年10月在美国波士顿举办的2018 iGEM 大会发表生物工程化设计以及实验结果得以展现。
Students interested in scientific and social research have been working hard since December of last year on developing our project goal – which will aim to genetically engineer microbes with the goal of producing high value omege-3 fatty acids for the health food market. The team’s efforts will see them present our biodesign and experiment results in competition against universities from across the United States and around the world in the iGEM 2018 giant jamboree in Boston later this year.
In addition to our scientific research and development, the team is also developing an educational outreach program designed to improve both the prevalence and quality of use of engineering and design skills in secondary school biology curriculum and classroom instruction. In 2012 Dr. Kuldell helped create the BioBuilder program which aimed to equip high school educators with the teaching know-how and resources required to implement the new science of synthetic biology (sometimes called engineering biology) in their classrooms. The world is currently in the age of biology where genetic manipulation now has the power to impact every individuals’ life in a multitude of ways, including our fuel, food and the rapeutics necessities. According to Dr. Kuldell, in order for the future generations to be active contributors in the world of life science research or indeed to be prepared for life in this new age of biology – “a deeper appreciation of what engineers do and how it relates to life is necessary”.
Since 2015 the USHS has adopted the BioBuilder curriculum to supplement our approach to STEM learning and have even invested in a small purpose-built Biotechnology research lab. This will be the second year we enter a team in iGEM and we can be proud to say we are only oneof fifty high schools world wide with the capabilities to perform such research for competition against university teams.
Our first meeting with Dr. Kuldell, who resides in Boston USA, happened late one Saturday evening at WanYuan campus.Here we discussed the challenges facing synthetic or engineering biology education, her motivation for founding the BioBuilder foundation, and the future direction of global STEM education. Our students were deeply engaged in meaningful conversation with Dr. Kuldell and gained valuable insights into how to elucidate secondary school biology & science educators’ views on engineering design and how to perform a study into teaching methodologies. Currently our team, in addition to our strenuous lab work, have distributed a survey to international science educators about engineering design and teaching practices. To date, they have received over 80 respondents from across the globe and are currently analyzing the early data gathered. This data will be used to develop free educational resources for teachers designed to develop Biology teachers’ competences in teaching engineering design in particular. In addition to using this data for our own iGEM project we will continue to collaborate with Dr. Kuldell and the BioBuilder team to help improve STEM education in Biology high and middle schools. Dr. Kuldell has expressed her wishes for us to lead the implementation of synthetic biology education and BioBuilder to the Chinese bilingual schools sector.
iGEM 2018 is coming and thanks to ourstudent’s hard work, our friends in MIT and the USHS East meets West curriculum we are very confident our students will experience success.
From Interview with Dr. Natalie Kuldell
SUIS – One study that you conducted surveyed teachers on their attitudes to teaching microbiology and biotechnology in their core curriculum both pre- and post- BioBuilder training. The results showed a huge increase in teacher’s confidence with teaching these disciplines after training. What do you think is the biggest impact of the BioBuilder curriculum?
NK – The greatest impact has been that these teachers feel and appreciate that there is maybe a new approach to teach life science. I think many people leave Biology because there are so many things to memorize, so many words and so many pathways to learn it becomes overwhelming. But if you teach it through engineering it maybe helps organize the information in a way that is useful and personally engaging. For example, it is easier to learn about operons in genes and remember their function if you use them, or even think of them as an engineering tool to perhaps be used as a pollution detector in the environment. This adds context to the learning, I think this has perhaps been the most direct impact of BioBuilder. But I also feel that it has empowered both students and teachers. Empowered them to not just learn and recall information about the world around them but allows them to realize you can also do something with it, to you know, make the world a better place. I feel this is attractive to the next generation who are very motivated to do good in the world. It also liberates teachers – if you can let go of the idea that you need to know and remember everything then you can start to have fun teaching and learn yourself. I have seen that teachers also love to learn and to reengage them through BioBuilder has been wonderful.
Natalie Kuldell – TEDx Talk – Synthetizing Change
MIT professor Natalie Kuldell explains that with just a rudimentary developer’s kit, anyone can engage in synthetic biology. But what will our planet eventually look like if students, teachers and adult amateurs can easily reprogram the living world around them?