Biophysics 242r/2009

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Biophysics 242r/2009:

Special Topics in Biophysics (Synthetic Biology)

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Course overview

Note: This site is currently under development.

Course description:

Each year, the course BioPhys 242 invites professors to speak about specialized areas of research. This year, the focus will be on SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY, a rapidly growing field focused on the design of artificial biological systems and the improved understanding of their natural counterparts. Bringing together renowned synthetic biologists from both Harvard and MIT, BioPhys 242 will provide an overview of achievements within the field, as well as insights into the future of synthetic biology. Covered topics include the design and implementation of novel cell-based systems, construction of novel genomes and the chemical basis for building new self-replicating systems.

Course design:

Head lecturers

(Many guest lecturers will also participate. See syllabus for more detailed information.)

Teaching fellows
Time and location
  • Starts January 29th, ends April 30th
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 3:30 – 5 pm, Warren Alpert Building (WAB), Room 436

Tuesdays: Lecture
Thursdays: Paper discussion


Attendance 33%, Participation 33%, Final project 33%
  • Attendance: Because the course is largely discussion-based, attendance is mandatory. Just show up!
  • Participation: On Thursdays, students will be expected to have read the assigned papers and feel comfortable discussing them. The papers will be related to that week’s lecture.
  • Final project: Students will be asked to propose the design of an original synthetic biological system. A one-page description of your ideas will be due approximately one month before the final due date (~ April 24th), so that guidance may be provided by faculty and teaching fellows. Short presentations of each proposal will be given during the final days of class.

Additional information:

  • The TAs will hold optional weekly office hours in the Warren Alpert Building.
  • Guest lecturers will include Tom Knight, Jeremy Gunawardena, Kristala Jones Prather, and George Church, among others.

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