High School

Bio Lab Basic Training

June 27 - 28, 2017


Facilitator: Mary Clark (Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry Instructor)

This introductory workshop, led by an expert teacher and facilitated by Northwestern University, is designed to be a quick and easy introduction to 21st-century lab skills including pipetting, culturing bacteria, and DNA gel electrophoresis. Teachers expand their knowledge of current biological research and explore new ways to teach general biology topics with hands-on, inquiry-based, NGSS-aligned labs.

Participants earn access to free lab materials and loaner equipment through the Baxter Box program.

Forensics & NGSS

Coming in Fall 2017

Facilitators: Mary Clark (Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry Instructor) & Scott McCartney (John Hancock College Prep)

Try out labs that engage students in NGSS Science and Engineering Practices while exploring key ideas in Forensics! Under the guidance of experienced high school teachers and Northwestern University scientists, teachers will learn new ways to introduce hands-on activities like Unknown Powder Identification, Blood Typing, Blood Splatter Evidence, DNA Gel Electrophoresis, and PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction).

This workshop is presented in conjunction with the Chicago Public Schools Department of Science. 


August 1 - 3, 2017


Facilitators: Tom Martinez (Glenbard East High School) & Jessica Stark (Northwestern University)

This three-day professional development opportunity is designed to prepare educators to bring biological engineering and synthetic biology into their classrooms and laboratories. The workshop includes lectures that connect the STEM aspects of these fields, labs and classroom activities available at www.BioBuilder.org, lunchtime discussions with members of the synthetic biology community, and activities that address the nuts and bolts of running an iGEM team.

Research Experience for Teachers

July 24 - August 4, 2017


Northwestern Facilitators: Jewett Lab members, Ashley Walter & Emily Ferrin

Location: Northwestern University's Evanston campus

Five outstanding teachers will be selected to gain hands-on lab experience working alongside scientists in a Northwestern University research laboratory. Teachers will split their time between experiments “at the bench” and developing their own curriculum materials based on their research.

Beyond DNA

July 18 - 20, 2017

Facilitator: Mary Clark (Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry Instructor)

In this advanced-level workshop, teachers explore hands-on, inquiry-based, NGSS-aligned labs that use proteins to examine structure and function. Led by an expert teacher and Northwestern scientists, teachers are trained in protein-based techniques including chromatography, SDS-PAGE, and colorimetric assays. Teachers learn to troubleshoot and modify labs on the fly, and to feel confident in their general lab skills.

Participants earn access to free lab materials and loaner equipment through the Baxter Box program.

The Invisible Made Visible

July 11 - 13, 2017

Facilitator: Mary Clark (Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry Instructor)

In this intermediate-level workshop, teachers try out open-ended, inquiry-based, NGSS-aligned labs that explore DNA. Under the guidance of an expert teacher and scientists from Northwestern University, teachers learn DNA-based techniques including DNA gel electrophoresis and PCR (polymerase chain reaction). With a focus on understanding the science behind the techniques, teachers are trained to troubleshoot and modify labs on the fly, and to feel confident in their general lab skills.

Participants earn access to free lab materials and loaner equipment through the  Baxter Box program.

The 6th Annual Baxter Symposium

May 2018

The Baxter Symposium is an event designed to excite and inspire teachers to bring cutting edge life science activities to their classrooms. We accomplish this by providing a day of real-world science and hands-on lab activities that show life sciences in the 21st century are exciting and amazing! 

We offer a wide array of new hands-on activity offerings led by experienced teachers paired with Northwestern and Baxter scientists.

Programming Life: Engineering Student Creativity using Synthetic Biology

November 12, 2014

Synthetic biologists program living cells to tackle today’s challenges. Biofuels, safer foods, anti-malarial drugs, less toxic cancer treatment, biodegradable adhesives —all fuel for young students’ imaginations. In this webinar, MIT instructor and BioBuilder founder Dr. Natalie Kuldell will explore the science, technology, engineering, and math aspects of synthetic biology and biological engineering. She will also introduce the many resources BioBuilder provides to teachers and students, including hands-on activities, teacher workshops,online animations, and community forums. High school biology teacher and BioBuilder instructor Tom Martinez will explain some of the practical aspects of running BioBuilder labs and discuss ways to relate synthetic biology to topics in your current biology course.

Dr. Natalie KuldellMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Tom Martinez, Glenbard East High School

Watch the recording of the webinar here.

Outbreak! Saving the World One Egg at a Time

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has reported that a new antibiotic-resistant bacterial disease has begun spreading through Illinois and could potentially become a national epidemic. It is imperative that a new antibiotic is developed to combat this infection.

In fact, there is not a new antibiotic-resistant bacterial disease in Illinois, but in recent years, antibiotic resistant diseases have become a global problem including in our own communities in Chicago.