Partnering to scale synthetic biology STEM education for K12
Amino Labs, a leading developer of practice-based synthetic biology (syn-bio) technologies, announced it has partnered with MindFuel, a leading organization in educational science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to expand its Canadian and U.S. presence in K-12 education. Amino Labs has pioneered a syn-bio starter kit for teachers – the Amino Labs Educators Starter Kit (ALESK) – that enables practice-based syn-bio learning for K-12 education. Through this strategic partnership, Amino Labs and MindFuel will make learning about syn-bio accessible, affordable and easy-to-use within the K-12 market segment, combining the innovation of ALESK with MindFuel’s popular K-12 software as a service platform (SaaS), Wonderville.org, providing curricula-aligned lessons in syn-bio. Launched in 2016, Wonderville.org distributes educational STEM-learning resources to more than 170 countries, with the U.S. and Canada representing its largest user base of teachers and students.
ALESK comprises an end-to-end theory-to-classroom practice solution that enables hands-on syn-bio learning for the K-12 education market and includes a how-to textbook, Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero: The Beginner’s Guide to Programming Bacteria at Home, School & in the Makerspace, a synthetic biology learning kit with tools and samples, lesson plans aligned to targeted curricula in North America. All of these resources are now available for purchase via the MindFuel STEM Store (STEMstore.io), making it easy for middle and high school educators to seamlessly implement syn-bio education in the classroom
“The North American biotechnology market is estimated to be $350 – $500 billion dollars and represents 2 percent of the U.S. GDP,” says Julie Legault, former MIT researcher, and founder and CEO of Amino Labs. “The market has grown 10 percent annually for more than a decade – a remarkable pace compared to other sectors – and presents very promising career opportunities. MindFuel has an impeccable track record, and we at Amino Labs are excited to work with MindFuel to scale syn-bio into K-12 education. Presently, the vast majority of syn-bio education is completed in universities or facilitated by university-trained experts. Through our partnership, we have created an ecosystem that’s highly accessible, relevant and user-friendly for non-expert educators and students.”
“We’re excited to partner with Amino Labs,” says Cassy Weber, CEO of MindFuel. “Based on the ever-increasing demand for syn-bio learning experiences, our partnership enables schools across North America, and around the world, to easily access high-quality learning resources and equipment and, most importantly, to open up the exciting and innovative world of synthetic biology to middle and high school students. Our initial focus is the Alberta Program of Studies and the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), with plans to expand to other curricula.”
“I’m excited that MindFuel and Amino Labs are bringing syn-bio STEM activities to more students around the world – it’s been life-changing for our eager young learners,” said Jessica Puurunen, STEM educator at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Academy (OLS) in Canmore, Alberta. “We’re so proud of the exciting achievements of our middle school students, who recently received the Chairman’s Award at iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines competition), one of four highest awards offered, and attribute our start in syn-bio learning to the support of MindFuel and Amino Labs.”
About Amino Labs
Amino Labs is a design-driven company using lean startup methodologies to develop products based on real user feedback. Founded in 2017, Amino Labs spun out of the graduate research conducted by CEO Julie Legault during her studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab. With a mission to increase accessibility of genetic engineering and make biology class fun and engaging for students aged 12+, Amino Labs is motivating the next generation of innovators using biology as a problem-solving tool. Driven by ground-breaking design and technology, the easy-to-use Amino Labs Educators Starter Kit pushes biotechnology beyond the expert market. For more information please visit amino.bio.
Established in 1990 by James (Jim) Gray, O.C., as Science Alberta Foundation, MindFuel is a registered charitable organization focused on creating future generations of innovators and problem-solvers – directly related to helping Canada diversify its economy through a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education and career paths. MindFuel supports teachers with award-winning programs and helps immerse students in the fun world of STEM through blended learning, which includes both digital and hands-on training, critical to advancing Canada’s innovation agenda. The legacy of MindFuel is rich; since its founding, MindFuel’s resources and programming have reached more than 100,000,000 teachers, students and parents globally. For more information on programming please visit mindfuel.ca.