Introduction to Biological Engineering Design

Colorful stylized cartoon of a woman looking at a synthetic biology creation.

This class is Course 20's project-based introduction to the engineering of synthetic biological systems. (Image courtesy of Justin Lo. Used with permission.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2009



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This class is a project-based introduction to the engineering of synthetic biological systems. Throughout the term, students develop projects that are responsive to real-world problems of their choosing, and whose solutions depend on biological technologies. Lectures, discussions, and studio exercises will introduce (1) components and control of prokaryotic and eukaryotic behavior, (2) DNA synthesis, standards, and abstraction in biological engineering, and (3) issues of human practice, including biological safety; security; ownership, sharing, and innovation; and ethics. Enrollment preference is given to freshmen.

This subject was originally developed and first taught in Spring 2008 by Drew Endy and Natalie Kuldell. Many of Drew's materials are used in this Spring 2009 version, and are included with his permission.

This OCW Web site is based on the OpenWetWare class Wiki, found at OpenWetWare: 20.020 (S09)

Related Content

Natalie Kuldell, and Andrew Endy. 20.020 Introduction to Biological Engineering Design. Spring 2009. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

For more information about using these materials and the Creative Commons license, see our Terms of Use.