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BioBits: Building Accessible Hands-on Biology Classroom Activities with Freeze-Dried Cell-Free Technology

Join us on Friday, April 30, 2021 from 4 p.m.-5 p.m. MDT for our coming STEMers meeting: “BioBits: Building Accessible Hands-on Biology Classroom Activities with Freeze-Dried Cell-Free Technology” by Dr. Ally Huang.

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Abstract: Hands-on lab experiences improve student outcomes and engagement in STEM classes, but activities involving living biological materials require specialized equipment and expertise, limiting the accessibility of these activities to classrooms with significant material resources. To expand accessibility, we developed freeze-dried, cell-free kits (BioBits® kits). BioBits® kits are uniquely inexpensive, user friendly, safe, and have real-time visual readouts that students can see. Students simply need to rehydrate the reactions by adding water with DNA and the BioBits® reaction will express the protein encoded by the DNA. Our experiences and findings with prototyping, pilot testing, and implementing these activities in classrooms suggest that synthetic biology-based BioBits® kits have the potential to increase accessibility to molecular biology education among high school student groups.

Bio: Ally Huang received her B.S in Biomedical Engineering from Johns Hopkins and her PhD in Biological Engineering from MIT, with a thesis focused on making molecular and synthetic biology accessible to classrooms and other educational settings. She believes that everyone should have access to quality hands-on science education and is now at miniPCR bio, dedicated to the mission of making science accessible to everyone, everywhere.

STEMers Coordinating Committee Contact Information:
Mourat Tchoshanov, Ph.D.
William Medina-Jerez, Ph.D.
Ruby Lynch-Arroyo, Ph.D.
Justice Walker, Ph.D.

Friday, April 30 at 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM

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