Applications and implications of synthetic biology

Bio academy started when Harvard Professor George Church made a variant on the Fab Academy curriculum, not teaching students how to Make (almost) anything, but instead focussing on How to Grow (almost) Anything.

This course teaching students the applications and implications of synthetic biology started as a beta in 2015, and is now in it’s 3rd year. Students learn from world class faculty from various Universities and research labs such at MIT, Tufts, Harvard and Wyss, as well as companies like Ginkgo Bioworks and Epibone.

Classes include DNA nanostructures, CRISPR-CAS9, FISSEQ, open source hardware for Bio Labs, 3D bioprinting, synthetic minimal cells and much more.


George Church is Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Director of, which provides the world’s only open-access information on human Genomic, Environmental & Trait data (GET). His 1984 Harvard PhD included the first methods for direct genome sequencing, molecular multiplexing & barcoding. These led to the first genome sequence (pathogen, Helicobacter pylori) in 1994 . His innovations have contributed to nearly all “next generation” DNA sequencing methods and companies (CGI-BGI, Life, Illumina, Nanopore). This plus his lab’s work on chip-DNA-synthesis, gene editing and stem cell engineering resulted in founding additional application-based companies spanning fields of medical diagnostics ( Knome/PierianDx, Alacris, AbVitro/Juno, Genos, Veritas Genetics ) & synthetic biology / therapeutics ( Joule, Gen9, Editas, Egenesis, enEvolv, WarpDrive ). He has also pioneered new privacy, biosafety, ELSI, environmental & biosecurity policies. He is director of an IARPA BRAIN Project and NIH Center for Excellence in Genomic Science. His honors include election to NAS & NAE & Franklin Bower Laureate for Achievement in Science. He has coauthored 425 papers, 95 patent publications & one book (Regenesis).

Next to Professor Church, Bio Academy is created by a group of faculty:

  • David Kong (MIT)
  • Megan Palmer (Stanford)
  • Joseph Jacobson (MIT)
  • William Shih (Wyss Institute)
  • Kate Adamala (University of Minnesota)
  • Patrick Boyle (Ginkgo Bioworks)
  • Vatsan Raman (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • John Glass (JCVI)
  • Evan Daugharthy (Harvard)
  • Nina Tandon (Epibone)
  • Fiorenzo Omenetto (Tufts)
  • Kevin Esvelt (Wyss Institute)