Bio Academy

Bio Academy is a Synthetic Biology Program directed by George Church, professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

The program is part of the Academany, a distributed educational model providing a unique educational experience. Each Lab that participates in the Bio Academy program is part of a global Fab Lab / Academy network. These Labs are Nodes that offer the Bio Academy program.

FabLab Madrid CEU and the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Area of the Faculty of Pharmacy at CEU San Pablo University offer the Bio Academy Program.

The following labs participate in the Bio Academy Program:

  • Mason Lab (Weill Cornell Medicine) – New York, USA
  • Silk Lab (Tufts University) – Medford, USA
  • EMW Lab – Cambridge, USA
  • Fab Lab San Diego – San Diego, USA
  • Hackteria Academy Lab – Luzerne, Switzerland
  • Fablab Digiscope (Université Paris-Saclay) – Paris, France
  • Green Fab Lab (Fab lab barcelona) – Barcelona, Spain
  • Fab Lab Madrid CEU & Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Area– Madrid, Spain
  • Fab lab Lima – Lima, Peru
  • Fab lab Argentina – Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • AS220 Labs – Providence, USA
  • Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM] – Yamaguchi, Japan
  • Fab Lab Hamamatsu TAKE-SPACE – Hamamatsu, Japan
  • Fablab O Shanghai – Shanghai, China
  • Shenzhen Open Innovation Lab (Fablab Shenzhen) – Shenzhen, China

Students view and participate in global lectures broadcasted every Wednesdays at 3:00 pm – 6.00 pm. In addition to the lectures, there are 2 / 3 lab days each week where students have access the lab equipment and personal help with projects.


Principles and Practices. Neil Gershenfeld (MIT), George Church (Harvard), Megan Palmer (Stanford)

For a possible project (ideas coming soon), setting up your lab, or running a project you are actually planning on doing, find out: What rules / standards locally, nationally and internationally apply Where there are uncertainties / ambiguities around these rules, and who you would work with to resolve these ambiguities / uncertainties.

Tool Chains, Automation, and Open Hardware. David Kong (MIT)

Design and build a piece of open hardware for biology.

NextGen Synthesis. Joseph Jacobson (MIT)

DNA assembly from high-density biomolecule arrays. Inputs: CustomArray DNA microarrays, Agilent oligonucleotide pools, spotted microscope slides.

 DNA Nanostructures. William Shih (Wyss Institute)

Software for primer design, DNA fundamentals and folding ( Design a 3D DNA nanostructure.

 Synthetic Minimal Cells. Kate Adamala (U Minnesota)

Cell-free transcription and translation. What a synthetic cell is, what they are good for, and how to make them. Examples of synthetic cells used to make stuff (proteins, metabolites), as well as examples of synthetic cells interfacing with biology, for readout and control of natural cells

Darwin on steroids: Bio design, diversity & selection. George Church (Harvard)

From goals to practical choices. Design tools. Classes of genetic/protein modules. 

Bio production. Patrick Boyle (Ginkgo Bioworks)

Organism engineering for bio-manufacturing. Pathway design. Case studies: Gen9 (DNA assembly), Gingko (high-value chemicals), Amyris (biofuels).

Computational protein design, biosensors and the protein-folding game. Srivatsan Raman (UW Madison)

The class covers three topics: computational methods for modeling protein structures and interactions; application of biosensors for high-throughput metabolic engineering and finally, the use of FoldIt, a protein folding game.

 Genome Engineering. George Church (Harvard) and John Glass (JCVI)

Genome Design. Challenges of making multiple changes at once. Safety and containment considerations.

Fluorescence In Situ Sequencing (FISSEQ). Evan Daugharthy (Harvard) + George Church (Harvard)

Analyze a FISSEQ dataset and find some in situ sequences.

 Synthetic development biology. Nina Tandon (Epibone)

Biomimetic paradigm for tissue engineering, bioreactors used to grow different tissue types, as well as a application of bioreactors for a different purpose: building biotic video games.

 Biofabrication and additive manufacturing. Fiorenzo Omenetto (Tufts)

How to use naturally derived materials for making and building. Reinvent structural biopolymers into high-technological materials through basic principles of materials science, advanced fabrication and ingenuity.

 Engineering the Human Gut Microbiome. David Kong (MIT)

A growing body of research is beginning to elucidate the diverse impacts the gut microbiota plays in human health and development, from nutrition, to disease, and even cognition. Model systems to both prototype and study complex polymicrobial systems are a necessity for producing robust microbial communities that can be engineered at both the genetic level (subcellular) and population level (multicellular).

 Evolution, CRISPR Gene Drives, and Ecological Engineering. Kevin Esvelt (Wyss Institute)

CRISPR genome editing, how it enables us to build gene drives, when, and how we should develop synthetic gene drive systems to address real-world ecological problems.

 Invention, intellectual property. George Church (Harvard), David Kong (MIT), Jean-michel Molenaar (Tufts)

 For more information:

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