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MIT Experiential Learning Opportunity: MIT BioMaker TV


Term:

Fall

Department:

20: Biological Engineering

Faculty Supervisor:

Justin Buck

Faculty email:

jbuck@mit.edu

Apply by:

09/30/2020

Contact:

jbuck@mit.edu

Project Description

Do you love demonstrating and explaining science and engineering principles to your family and friends? Are you excited about the rapidly emerging tools in molecular biology and genomics enabling engineering of biological systems? If so, MIT BioMaker TV is the ELO for you! Come with us and develop high-quality video content exploring and explaining topics ranging from the SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 to grand challenges in environmental sustainability to the biochemistry behind cooking! Students will work in groups of 3 to 5 to develop and produce educational videos targeted at middle school students, high school students, or the general public. Each group will focus in on a theme and work collaboratively to create a series of videos on this topic. Each video will explain and demonstrate a fundamental principle or technique of biology or engineering. Each video segment will be related to the overall theme and will frequently build upon earlier segments. Content should seek to build upon and synthesize from quality content already in existence, reference it, but not recreate it. Students will have the opportunity to take on a number of different roles on the team, ranging from developing hands-on demonstrations and DIY instructions, to scripting concept explanations and presenting material on camera. Each student will eventually be responsible for ~30-60 minutes (+/-) of video material for the term. Students will receive a kit of video production materials for part of the term and will be able to participate in workshops and trainings on best-practices for producing quality video segments. Students will meet frequently with supervisors and mentors and the other members of the team. Periodically, all groups will get together to share progress and lessons across the various themes. Potential themes include: • Molecular Biology Tools & Techniques – Explain and demonstrate basic tools and techniques in molecular biology, ranging from PCR and gel electrophoresis to CRISPR, and highlight some cutting-edge applications of these technologies. When possible, these videos will contain DIY segments to give hands-on experience and reinforce the concepts. For us biotech geeks! • Biology of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 – Topics of virology, immunology, and epidemiology are now mainstream news stories due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but much of the population still does not understand the fundaments of the biology and engineering principles related to the virus, the disease, and the spectrum of on-going efforts to combat the pandemic. Let’s solve that! • Biology & Biochemistry in the Kitchen – The culinary arts have discovered and developed techniques over millennia that most of us take for granted or use without understanding why. Explain some basics of biological macromolecules, composition of common ingredients, and why certain techniques can produce culinary delights. Calling all molecular gastronomists! • Societal Challenges for BioMakers – Highlight and pose challenges to the broader public and scientific community to address issues related to sustainability, food production, and more. Biology is the most powerful force on the planet, use it to solve the biggest challenges facing society. • Bio Briefs – Make “Executive Summary” level material targeted at the broadest possible audience addressing and explaining the most pressing topics of the day, short and sweet, cut to the chase, and get the key points across quickly. Qualifications & Experience Required - The ideal candidate is a first-year MIT student with a modest understanding of biological concepts and a strong interest in biology and biological technology. Preference to students planning or considering declaring Course 20. - Opportunities also available for exceptionally-experienced and highly-motivated students with a passion for education outreach to lead a group of first-year students on a specific theme. - Good communication skills and an interest in educational outreach are required. There are no course prerequisites for this opportunity. Key Dates Application Deadline: September 4, 2020 Project Start: September 14, 2020 Project End: December 11, 2020 or January 29, 2021 (optional) Effort Level Approximately 10 hr/week (variable and flexible) total of 80 – 140 hours total. Pay / Course Credit A stipend is being offered for this ELO. The stipend will be dependent on the availability and effort of the student. The opportunity requires a commitment of a minimum of 80 hours over Fall and IAP. A maximum effort allowed under this ELO is 140 hours, corresponding to a maximum stipend of $1,900. Lead Project Supervisor Dr. Justin Buck Instructor of Biological Engineering and Chemical Engineering Manager of Huang-Hobbs BioMaker Space Project Mentors Professor Angela Belcher James Mason Crafts Professor, Professor of Biological Engineering Head of the Department of Biological Engineering Additional Faculty, Staff, and Student Mentors TBD Application Process Please submit your interest for a position to Dr. Justin Buck (jbuck@mit.edu) no later than September 4, 2020. Please include a current resume / CV and a brief statement explaining your interest in the position. Also include a desired/available effort level (weekly and total) and which themes on which you would be interested in participating. Follow-up, interviews, and candidate selection will complete by September 11, 2020, and the project will kickoff on September 14, 2020.

Pre-requisites

The ideal candidate is a first-year MIT student with a modest understanding of biological concepts and a strong interest in biology and biological technology. Preference to students planning or considering declaring Course 20. Opportunities also available for exceptionally-experienced and highly-motivated students with a passion for education outreach to lead a group of first-year students on a specific theme. Good communication skills and an interest in educational outreach are required. There are no course prerequisites for this opportunity.