iGEM at Berkeley's DeCal — BIOENG 98 003

Foundations of Engineering Biology

Our Purpose

Our Training Team (also known as the Foundations of Engineering Biology DeCal, or FERB) is a space for students to learn about the field of synthetic biology and acquire new, applicable skills for future scientific research. We host two DeCals with the first being a fundamental introduction to the field and the sequel allowing exposure to the wet-lab environment.

Geared towards students who are newer to the field, Foundations of Engineering Biology I is a one-semester, lecture and project-based course that will teach basic wet lab techniques, current computational and synthetic biology research, and the process of ideation. Additionally, students will get the opportunity to participate in a three-week long Design Challenge created to promote collaboration and application of fundamentals, culminating in a presentation of their project proposal to a panel of graduate students and peers.

For students with a foundational understanding of biology, Foundations of Engineering Biology II introduces wet-lab techniques used in synthetic biology to conduct a student-run experimental project. This one-semester class meets twice a week for lecture and lab to delve into the cloning workflow performing techniques such as PCR, gel electrophoresis, DNA cleanup, assembly, transformation, sequencing, and basic computational analysis.


FERB I Class Our Fall 2022 inaugural FERB I cohort along with their Training Team directors and leads.



Class will be held twice a week in the evening and taught by our Training Team Directors. Students will be expected to complete weekly assignments varying from technique based quizzes to verbal presentations both individually and collaboratively. Grading is based on a pass/no pass system and is offered for one BioE 98 unit.

To learn more about our offered DeCals, check out the Foundations in Engineering Biology I and Foundations in Engineering Biology II Syllabi.


What happens after Training Team?

Training Team graduates are encouraged to apply to our existing wetlab or compbio experimental teams where they can apply the knowledge and research skills they have acquired to a student-led research project. For those interested in participating in a student-led team focused on idea generation and research proposal creation, we encourage applying to existing New Ideas teams or proposing your own idea!



Training Team Directors

If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact the Training Team Directors (balazsgeorge@berkeley.edu and katie.sie@berkeley.edu) or our Directors’ email at directors@igem.berkeley.edu.



This is the third iteration of the Training Team, which originally began in Spring of 2021 as the Training Rotation Program (TRP) and only had about 15 students. The following year (Fall 2021), the program was revamped into the Training Team and hosted almost 100 students. During the 2022-2023 Academic Year, Foundations in Engineering Biology (FERB) was spearheaded with the fall semester focusing on the introductory foundations of synthetic and computational biology and the spring semester conducting a research project using fundamental wet-lab techniques. Internally, we still refer to this group of students as iGEM’s Training Team, but Foundations of Engineering Biology is the exact same thing.