Synthetic biology is a comprehensive field of study that encompasses aspects of molecular biology, organic chemistry, calculus, and computing, just to name a few. As a result, it can be quite daunting to pick up for someone unfamiliar with its fundamental concepts and terminology. Below are some links that can be used as free synthetic biology educational resources for the aspiring novice synthetic biologist. (Note: the resources listed are not products/services that QGEM endorses, but rather great vehicles to encourage learning about synthetic biology)
For those looking for a comprehensive, in-depth, multi-week online course on the fundamental concepts behind synthetic biology, this free course by edX.org is a great starting place. Principles of Synthetic Biology teaches modern techniques in DNA assembly and regulation of gene expression and protein activity, how to design basic biological circuits, principles for creating large-scale biological circuits and regulatory networks, and basic ordinary differential equation (ODE) modeling of biological systems with MATLAB. Some prior knowledge of molecular biology (e.g. BIOL205, BCHM218) and calculus (MATH121) is recommended.
Looking to get inspired by iGEM projects of the past? Team Seeker provides an archive of all past iGEM teams and their projects since 2008. Included are links to each iGEM team's project wiki, as well as an abstract describing the track and goal of their project. This is a great starting place to get a sense of the different modules of focus each team takes, providing a sense of the different iGEM tracks one can explore with a potential project. For those looking for inspiration on potential project ideas, look no further!
Looking for a way to introduce grade school students to the exciting and evolving field of synthetic biology? This synthetic biology curriculum developed by the William and Mary 2013 iGEM team is a great resource with a vast supply of activites tested and enjoyed by students from grades 1-12! With activities ranging from DNA extraction to primer design, this package is a great way to engage a class and bring tactical involvement to a subject that can be, at times, lecture heavy.