Synthetic Biology Course

Access all Synthetic Biology Course Materials Here

With support from the National Science Foundation, we developed a two-credit hands-on Biotechnology program course, BIT495/595 Synthetic Biology, to teach the foundations of synthetic biology methods and applications to upper-level undergraduate and graduate students at NC State University (NCSU). The course consists of 16 hours of lectures, 30 hours of hands-on lab, and 5 hours of MATLAB modeling. The course was taught in the spring of 2020, 2022 and 2023. If you would like to implement some of these experimental modules or lectures in your own classroom, you are welcome to borrow the ideas, protocols, and slide decks from this Google Drive folder.

At NCSU, the course was taught two days per week for 7.5 weeks, with two hours on Mon or Tue and five hours on Wed. The lectures were intermingled with lab work and usually presented to students in short bits during lab incubation times. Lectures covered a diversity of topics, including DNA assembly methods, genetic logic gates and circuits, memory devices, genome editing, biosensors, protein and nucleic acid engineering, metabolic engineering, synthetic cell, and cell-free systems. The lab component consisted of two major parts that involved building and testing of (1) a bacterial toggle switch and (2) a transcriptional hormone biosensor for plants. The MATLAB component taught the basics of gene circuit modeling (e.g., toggle switch and different types of oscillators).
Students taking this course at NCSU have come from different majors, including various fields of biological sciences, chemistry, chemical or biomolecular engineering, and microbial biotechnology, among others.