Education & Outreach

Whether you’re a student, educator, researcher, or simply curious about the potential of synthetic biology, CSB is dedicated to fostering a deeper understanding of synthetic biology’s transformative potential and its intersection with various aspects of science, society, and innovation.

Our Educational Opportunities

Explore, discover, and collaborate within the world of synthetic biology

Over the last decade, CSB has curated a suite of engaging programs for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, undergraduate students, K-12 teachers and students, as well as our Chicagoland community. Our initiatives are designed to foster research skills and facilitate meaningful discussions that will shape the future of synthetic biology.

  • We have developed a state-of-the-art curriculum in synthetic biology that can supplement student degree programs at Northwestern University.
  • We deliver a workshop series that teaches research and communication skills open to all current students and postdocs.
  • We offer research experiences for undergraduates that compliments the education received in the classroom as well as research experiences for K-12 teachers to take back to their classrooms.

These avenues cater to diverse learning and engagement needs and empower you to excel in research, dialogue, and ethical considerations within the dynamic realm of synthetic biology.


State-of-the-art curriculum in synthetic biology

At the core of our unique synthetic biology training approach is the concept of scales. We train students to break down synthetic biology technologies along the scales of phenomena that they require. This approach allows students to think big from the beginning, incorporate societal-level considerations such as ethics into their work, and drive collaboration with other CSB labs to create impactful innovations. We offer two introductory courses and several elective courses in synthetic biology.

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CSB-Wide Opportunities

Our CSB-wide opportunities provide a collaborative environment for diverse researchers and enthusiasts to engage in interdisciplinary exploration of synthetic biology. Our Research Design and Communications Workshop Series teaches research how to identify research problems, design, build, and test hypothesis, craft compelling research stories through scientific data, manage the research process, network as a scientist, and more. Our Research-in-Progress Meetings are designed to foster a vibrant discussion around current research being done at Northwestern by students and postdocs. Quarterly Community Ethics Conversations provide consistent dialogue around the ethics of research in synthetic biology and related science.

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Graduate Education

We offer an immersive and transformative journey into the realms of advanced scientific inquiry and innovation. Rooted in interdisciplinary collaboration and cutting-edge research, our initiatives provide an unparalleled opportunity for aspiring scholars to refine their expertise and contribute to groundbreaking discoveries in synthetic biology. With access to state-of-the-art facilities, esteemed faculty mentors, and a vibrant academic community, our graduate education programs empower students to shape the future landscape of synthetic biology.

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Undergraduate Education

Whether you’re passionate about synthetic biology or eager to expand your horizons, our undergraduate initiatives offer a unique blend of hands-on experiences, interactive workshops, and collaborative projects that foster curiosity and critical thinking. By joining our vibrant community, you’ll gain exposure to cutting-edge research, forge connections with esteemed faculty mentors, and develop essential skills that extend beyond the classroom. Whether you aspire to become a researcher, entrepreneur, or thought leader, our undergraduate programs provide a solid foundation for realizing your ambitions and contributing to the exciting realm of synthetic biology.

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Community Opportunities

Introduce your students to the world of synthetic biology and ignite their curiosity about the cutting-edge developments in this field. Through our outreach programs, we aim to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and innovators. By participating in our activities, K-12 students and educators can explore hands-on experiments, gain insights from experts, and foster a deeper understanding of the potential of synthetic biology, ultimately preparing them to navigate the future of scientific advancements with enthusiasm and confidence.

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