Teaching Synthetic Biology with GenoCAD
Teaching synthetic biology can be challenging because it involves concepts from so many fields. I would like to give credit to two professors who have been teaching synthetic biology using GenoCAD.
I was directly involved in the class taught by Massimiliano Pierobon at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Using video conference, I first gave a seminar describing the computational aspects of the different phases of synthetic biology projects. This allowed me to introduce notions of genetic languages GenoCAD relies on. Then we went through a series of three training sessions covering different aspects of the platform.
Sara Kalvala at the University of Warwick also used GenoCAD during a class but I don’t have as much information about this class.
What is interesting is that Sara and Max are both computer scientists and I can understand why GenoCAD may be particularly appealing to computer science students because of its foundation on language theory. It sort of kills two birds with one stone. By using familiar concepts, it makes it easier to introduce new notions of biology. At the same time, it gives CS students an opportunity to quickly gain a practical experience with the development of context-free grammars, something that they can benefit from outside of synthetic biology applications.
Are you teaching synthetic biology in your class? Would you be interested in using GenoCAD in your class? There are a number of ways I can make it easy and enjoyable for you and your students. Contact me.