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Synthetic biology education encourages STEM careers, research

A University of Lethbridge professor sees synthetic biology as a driver of the next generation of scientific researchers and a key to economic diversification and prosperity in southern Alberta and beyond.

Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden, an Alberta Innovates Strategic Chair in Bioengineering in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and director of the Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute (ARRTI), says in a recently published article in the world-leading journal Nature Biotechnology that engaging students in synthetic biology projects enhances their desire to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers and ultimately leads to advances benefitting society both economically and socially. This training is even more impactful when it begins at the high school level and is in step with the high school curriculum in the province of Alberta.

His vehicle of choice – high school iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) competitions.

“The transdisciplinary nature of synthetic biology projects creates a powerful learning opportunity for high school students by combining aspects of biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, engineering and social studies,” says Wieden. “I believe that synthetic biology projects integrate well into the high school curriculum and can provide a dynamic training environment for students and add an excellent engagement and education tool, allowing students to explore the scientific, as well as ethical, legal and social implications of the field.”

Read the full article from the University of Lethbridge.

Synthetic biology education encourages STEM careers, research

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