Genome Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT - SynBio)

Synthetic Biology

synthetic biology - "Synthetic biology aims to design and engineer novel biologically-based parts, devices and systems, as well as redesign existing natural biological systems for useful purposes. It incorporates the principles of engineering, (e.g., modularity, abstraction, and orthogonality) into classical biotechnology." (source bbsrc web site)

HHMI & NSF-funded GCAT Synthetic Biology Workshops

June 24 - 27, 2014 at UMBC (Baltimore)

Workshop Schedule

Workshop Applications Due January 10, 2014

(last funded workshop in summer of 2014)


GCAT's Mission

Synthetic Biology Defined

Synthetic Biology Workshops

Synthetic Biology Protocols

Syntheitc Biology Assessment Tool

GCAT SynBio Listserv

GCAT Community Wiki


Registry of Functional Promoters



Purpose of GCAT SynBio

1) Bring synthetic biology into undergraduate curriculum primarily through student research

2) Provide free tools for use in synthetic biology. This includes the GCAT-alog which is the only nationally distributed network of freezer stocks of DNA standardized parts. Members can bank their parts in freezers on other campuses as well as search other freezers and request parts from GCAT SynBio members.

3) Use NSF- and HHMI-funded workshops to train teams of faculty (one biologist, one non-biologist) how to think about synthetic biology and to bring the field into their teaching and research. We have workshops planned for the summers of 2012, 2013 and 2014.

4) Collect student data and designs in a national registry of functional promoters (RFP). This database of promoters will allow anyone using the plasmid pSB111 to compare their promoter to known standards.

5) Assess the impact of GCAT on student learning.

Everyone using GCAT SynBio resources is a faculty member trying to bring synthetic biology into the curriculum to help students. We often have to figure out things as we go along. GCAT SynBio helps coordinate stuff, but you and your students do all the work. You design the experiments and analyze the data. All GCAT SynBio does is lower the energy of activation.

Requirements for Participation in GCAT

To become a "GCAT member", you have to agree to these terms:

1) All work must be performed by you and your UNDERGRADUATE students. Sorry, but graduate students are not allowed under any circumstances. The chips we use have been given to us for use by undergraduates only. Graduate students can use real-time PCR or other methods to validate undergraduate results.

2) All data will be public domain.

3) You have to pay for all your own supplies and reagents. If you request DNA parts from another GCAT SynBio member, you are responsible for the shipping.

4) You are willing to help other faculty by answering questions when you are able. These questions usually come from GCATSynBio-L.

5) You are willing to take a risk and try something very new, knowing that it may not work out the first time.

6) You are willing to participate in the assessment component of GCAT which we are initiating to help improve our use of genomic resources for teaching and to establish data for a future grant proposal to the NSF. This assessment will be coordinated by:

GCAT-Sponsored Synthetic Biology Workshops

Synthetic Biology Workshop #5
(June 24 - 27, 2014)

Workshop on Synthetic Biology Schedule

Summer 2014 Results

HHMI & NSF-funded workshop, all expenes paid

UMBC Campus (near BWI Airport in Baltimore)

Synthetic Biology Workshop #4
(June 25 - 28, 2013)

Workshop on Synthetic Biology Application

Summer 2013 Results

HHMI & NSF-funded workshop, all expenes paid

HHMI Janelia Farm, VA (near Dulles airport in DC)

Synthetic Biology Workshop #3
(June 20 - 22, 2012)

Workshop on Synthetic Biology Application

June 20, 21, 22, 2012 Results

HHMI & NSF-funded workshop, all expenes paid

HHMI Janelia Farm, VA (near Dulles airport in DC)

Synthetic Biology Workshop #2
(June 15 - 18, 2011)

Workshop on Synthetic Biology

June 16, 17, 18, 2011

Missouri Western State University, MO

Synthetic Biology Workshop #1
(July 8 - 10, 2010)

HHMI-Funded Workshop on Synthetic Biology

July 8, 9, 10, 2010

Davidson College, NC

If you have any questions or would like to participate, contact Dr. A. Malcolm Campbell

Dr. A. Malcolm Campbell, Director of GCAT
Biology Department
Davidson College
P. O. Box 7118 (US Mail)
209 Ridge Road (Ground Delivery)

Davidson, NC 28035-7118

phone: (704) 894-2692
fax: (704) 894-2512

© Copyright 2013 Department of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28035
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