Video: BioBuilders Club is on the Move, with the help of Film Club

BioBuilder Club, one of the new clubs at Montrose this year, is not only “building” biology and restructuring DNA, but also building friendships, creating videos and entering into competitions. The new BioBuilder Club has produced a video, with the help of the Film Club, and they used the new green screen in the Media Center to create a video on genetic mutations, which they submitted to the Biotech company Biogen.

BioBuilder, formerly known as Science Club, is a new addition to the array of clubs at Montrose. Science teachers Ms. Osborne and Ms. Blabac attended a BioBuilder program at MIT over the summer together and decided that BioBuilder would be a fun addition to Montrose. Ms. Blabac explained: “We thought it sounded like an excellent way for students at Montrose to learn more about synthetic biology and engineering design.” Montrosians have embraced the opportunity with excitement.

What exactly does BioBuilder Club do? What does ‘building’ Biology mean? The Montrose Club is part of an organization of the BioBuilder Educational Foundation. The foundation was founded by an MIT student and provides students and teachers opportunities to enrich their knowledge and participate in events involving Synthetic Biology. The BioBuilder mission states: “BioBuilderClub increases public access to authentic tools and approaches for engineering Biology. Within Biodesign teams dispersed throughout the United States, budding scientists develop deeply valued projects that address personally meaningful challenges.”

For those who are unaware of the definition of Synthetic Biology and what Engineering Biology means, defines these  as “a maturing scientific discipline that combines science and engineering in order to design and build novel biological functions and systems.”  For example, one of the projects that BioBuilder groups have done is engineering the DNA of E. Coli to produce a banana smell instead of the disgusting moldy smell it usually produces. This is just the beginning of the complexity of projects. Projects with Synthetic Biology can lead to new and alternative cancer treatments, making a difference in the lives of many. This club serves as a foundation and inspiration to students who are curious and perhaps interested in a scientific or biotechnology career in the future.

The BioBuilder Club is off to a slow, but sure start. Their first project included creating a video pertaining to a genetic mutation and submitting it to the multinational biotechnology company BioGen. The students worked in partnership with the film club using the new green screen in the Media Center. The green screen was success in creating diverse backgrounds for the setting of the video. The club members talked about the genetic mutation of hemophilia and its relation to the Russian aristocracy in the 1900s. The video looks fantastic and is up on Youtube! Check it out at or on Molly Bowman’s Youtube channel. If Montrose wins the video competition, the club may win a large money prize. Good luck to the BioBuilder club!

After completing the video, they video, club members  chatted with their BioBuilder Foundation mentor who helps with providing materials for the project and brainstorming ideas of what to biologically engineer.  The girls are still brainstorming ideas. As Ms. Blabac said, they are specifically “designing a solution to a problem that people can encounter in their environment.”

Once the girls have their next project idea, they will start engineering and eventually enter their project into a state competition with other high schools.Girls are excited to be a part of the club and are anticipating their next project. When asked what her favorite part of the club was, member Lia Daher ‘19 replied, “It’s a fun opportunity to learn about DNA structures and how to manipulate them.”

Club leader Emily Bowman ‘19 said: “The team is so much fun! We have a mentor from BioBuilder who checks in on us and gives us advice.”  She added, “It is open to all grades, middle and upper schoolers. Join if you love STEM or Biology!” So, if you want to start making a difference through Biology and Engineering in the world — or you  just want to learn more about Synthetic Biology and have some fun — stop in on Tuesdays from 3:30 to 4:00.