UK Centre for Mammalian Synthetic Biology

For Schools and Public

Talk to us about what we do

What is synthetic biology?

Synthetic biology is defined as the design and construction of new biological parts, devices and systems, or the re-design of natural parts and systems, for useful purposes. 

There are many useful good sources of information about all aspects of synthetic biology and its potential applications via the following links: 

Reaching out to you! 

Our scientists attend many local festivals and events to help explain what we do and why. You can find us at local science festivals, during our 'Doors Open' days on the King's Buildings campus, and with local schools. 

Here are some examples of what we do: 

  • We created a card game to explore the many uses of synthetic biology and to explain how research is funded.  
  • We have worked with the SAW Trust to help use art to educate and inspire children about science.
  • We created a Master Biobuilder drop-in stand to explain the principles of synthetic biology to children of all ages. It has had several outings now! 
  • We also run 'Build a Bug' workshops, which explores the many different ways we can engineer biology to create a more sustainable future for our planet. 
  • Today we are working on a book of short stories to explore how synthetic biology might influence our future. 
  • Coming soon is a series of PodCasts by our scientists, explaining a little more about their research. 

You can find out more about some of these events and activities below. 


Materials for teachers

We are keen to share our passion for our research. We have been working with educationalists, teachers and local government, to develop and deliver activities and materials that can support teaching in the Scottish Curriculum for Excellence.

The SAW Trust inspires with science-art workshop

On April 20th 2016, SynthSys hosted the SAW Trust to deliver a one-day training event for their innovative approach to teaching science to children using the power of words and pictures.

SAW Trust inspires for second year

On April 21st 2017, SynthSys welcomed Jenni Rant and the SAW Training team back to Edinburgh for our second annual training event bringing their innovative approach to teaching science to children using the power of words and pictures.

SAW Trust inspires again

The SAW Trust were back in Edinburgh on May 3 2018 to deliver what was their third successful training day in science communication. 

A fuzzy felt festival of science

An enthusiastic gang of SynthSys researchers took synthetic biology to the Edinburgh Science Festival from March 31st to April 4th.

Building superbugs in the Meadows

Centre members braved the erratic Edinburgh summer weather to build bugs with kids of all ages at the annual Meadows Festival on June 4th 2018.