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A New System For Biology Education

Raised of $10,000 Goal
Funded on 10/04/23
Successfully Funded
  • $10,000
  • 100%
  • Funded
    on 10/04/23

About This Project

We are developing an apprenticeship based learning system for biology education to enable students to accelerate in their studies faster and begin conducting impactful research at an earlier age. This new system would provide an active learning alternative to current higher education options. As part of this system students would be paired with mentors to learn hands on lab skills and research fundamentals.

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What is the context of this research?

Ask any undergraduate in Biology what they spend the majority of their time doing and the response will likely be “memorizing facts I could easily just google." Though the call for active learning strategies is nothing new, in the age of the internet the need to re-focus on critical thinking and implementation of knowledge becomes more glaring each year. An undergraduate education in biology leaves students woefully under prepared to conduct their own research, and as such a secondary degree is almost always required to prepare students for the workforce. In an era where global problems are on the rise and disruptive scientific research is on the decline we need a new way to train researchers that enables them to begin conducting impactful research earlier in their career.

What is the significance of this project?

The goal of this project is to develop an apprenticeship based learning system that enables students to accelerate their studies faster and begin conducting impactful research at an earlier age. Given that younger researchers are more innovative, by reducing the time required for students to begin their own research this new system has the potential to increase the amount of disruptive and innovative research conducted. As part of this new learning system students would also be connected to peers with diverse backgrounds conducting a variety of research. Since innovation often happens at the intersection this would provide students with exposure to a large number of topics and the opportunity to meet potential collaborators.

What are the goals of the project?

The overall goal of this project is to determine if an apprenticeship based learning system can accelerate student learning and decrease time to impactful research in comparison to conventional higher education programs. Project milestones are: 1- establish a network of researchers who are interested in participating in the program, 2- connect apprentices with experienced mentors, 3- develop resources to assist apprentices with their self directed learning, 4- assess and evaluate program performance every 3 months. Program performance will be measured by a number of metrics to determine knowledge learned, student research skills, and the time required to reach impactful research (commercialized or published).


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The initial pilot of our mentorship program will be conducted out of a community lab space in San Francisco. Funds will go towards software for the creation of self guided learning resources, renting a lab bench space, pipettes, consumables (tips, petri plates, etc), and reagents (dNTPs, polymerases, etc). These research materials will be used by mentors to teach students hands-on lab skills.

Endorsed by

I know this team well, and they're easily come of the most qualified to implement this. Having gone through a traditional biomedical research education myself, I know from experience how sorely this project is needed.
Coming from an engineering background I am shocked at how badly biology is currently taught. Testing memorization is ridiculous in our modern world where any knowledge that you may need in your day to day lives can be found on a device in your pocket. I am fully in support of any system that strives to improve the way that our future generations are educated to better fit our current world.

Project Timeline

We will look to start recruiting mentors and students by the end of September, with the goal to officially get the program underway by the end of November. Project updates will be posted every month for the remainder of 2023, and every 3 months going forward. Reviews of the program and student progress will be conducted every 3 months for at least the next 2-3 years.

Sep 04, 2023

Project Launched

Sep 30, 2023

Begin recruiting for mentorship program

Nov 30, 2023

Connect first batch of students to mentors

Dec 31, 2023

In lab mentorship underway

Jan 31, 2024

First self guided learning resources published

Meet the Team

Danielle Rose
Danielle Rose


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Christian Tate
Christian Tate


Counter Culture Labs, BioPunk Society
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Elliot Roth
Elliot Roth
Head of Strategic Partnerships & Venture Portfolio, Agriculture


Deep Science Ventures
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Team Bio

The BioPunk Society is a newly formed community biotech organization operating out of San Francisco. Our goal is to foster innovation and biotech research by providing lab space, educational resources, and community events.

Danielle Rose

Danielle is the CEO of Ceragen, a biotech company developing plant growth promoting microbial inoculants to help increase crop yields in hydroponic fruit and vegetable production.

For her work with Ceragen Danielle was listed on Forbes 30 Under 30 for Science in 2022. Her passions include culturing novel bacteria, gardening, and improving science education. She received her B.Sc. in Microbiology with a minor in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Guelph.

Christian Tate

Hi I'm Christian, former president of Counter Culture Labs a micro/synthetic biology community lab in Oakland, CA and president and co-founder of BioPunk Society in San Francisco CA.

I've dabbled in gene therapy, and made a few pathways for protein synthesis as well as being a general maker. I believe we are heading into another great techno-revolution. So my goals are to democratize and educate people about the field of synthetic biology, and biochemistry.

Elliot Roth

Elliot is the head of strategic partnerships and venture portfolio in the agriculture group at Deep Science Ventures, and former founder of Spira, a company that creates carbon-negative materials from engineered algae grown by a global network of farms.

Previously Elliot helped establish IndieLab RVA, a community lab in Richmond, Virginia, and led a coalition of 5 community labs sharing knowledge and expertise in Virginia. He worked as a consultant with Betabox Labs establishing educational programming in a mobile makerspace, and built out the CrabLab in Los Angeles, a community laboratory in a shipping container as well as the Biopunk Society.

He is a Future Founders and Halcyon Fellow, holds a degree in biomedical engineering; previously started 7 companies, 2 nonprofits, studied synthetic biology for 12 years and worked for 5 years as a product consultant. He is incredibly motivated to solve physiological needs using simple biological design and enabling access to the tools of biotechnology. In his spare time he plays music, and participates in space analog missions while residing in San Francisco.

Additional Information

In addition to hands on experience with experimental techniques and self directed learning on topics in biology, an emphasis will be placed on learning the additional skills required to conduct a research project. This includes but is not limited to budgeting, ordering supplies, time managements, protocol development, data analysis, statistics, hypothesis development, and reading research papers. Students will also be encouraged to expand their horizons and learn skills such as coding, 3-D printing, laser cutting, and graphic design. To help improve the impact and implementation of applied research students will also be taught the basics of problem discovery and market research. This will include techniques for cold outreach, conducting interviews, and problem evaluation.

The initial pilot mentorship program for this project will be conducted at the BioPunk Society community biolab in downtown San Francisco. Our team is in the process of securing a location for this new community lab, and expect to have the lab space operational by the end of this year.

Project Backers

  • 11Backers
  • 100%Funded
  • $10,000Total Donations
  • $909.09Average Donation
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