The Cellular Construction Workshop is a two-week summer workshop for high school teachers and students.  This NSF-funded program, as part of the Center for Cellular Construction, will engage with students and teachers in design challenges as they learn together about the field of cellular engineering.

What is Cellular Engineering?

Cellular Engineering is an emerging discipline poised to harness the untapped potential of living cells to solve complex societal problems and benefit humankind. The field will apply our burgeoning knowledge of how cells (and systems of cells) are built, make decisions, and accomplish tasks to develop new cell-based technologies.

Cellular Engineering by its nature is interdisciplinary and developing solutions will require a new generation of scientists – those who enjoy tinkering, building, and figuring out how things work; and who are driven to make the world a better place.

2021 Workshop:

This year’s workshop will be 100% virtual, ​and will include a take-home kit of materials for all participants allowing the workshop to retain as many hands-on activities and ​as much of the active engagement of the original workshop as possible. Applicants have the choice of one of the following two sessions:

Session 1: June 7th – June 25th, 10am – 2pm, Monday thru Friday

Session 2: July 19th – August 6th, 10am – 2pm, Monday thru Friday


Application Links:

Our application deadline has passed.  Please check back in January 2022 for next year’s application.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Jessica at jessica.allen@ucsf.edu.

At the Cellular Construction Workshop,

Teachers will:

  • Discover new ways to frame lessons about cells
  • Experience problem-based learning modules that integrate NGSS engineering practices and life sciences curriculum
  • Work with students to build an analogy of cells as biological machines
  • Combine engineering and computer science to understand cellular behavior
  • Use robots to solve challenges similar to those faced by cells
  • Receive lesson materials to bring cellular engineering into the classroom

Students will:

  • Work in a student/teacher team to learn how cells make decisions and how you can ‘reprogram’ that decision-making process.
  • Investigate cellular behavior and design robotics that mimic that behavior.
  • Model cellular engineering techniques to solve real world problems, like water quality monitoring and bioremediation.
  • Visit UCSF labs and meet scientists using cellular engineering to solve real world problems.
  • Learn about careers in biotechnology and how you can pursue a career in cellular engineering.

More Details:

  • In order to participate, students MUST be SFUSD high school students (Must be current sophomores or juniors).
  • The Center for Cellular Construction is committed to broadening participation in science – and strongly encourages students from groups underrepresented in the sciences to apply.

Browse last year’s workshop materials (lesson ideas, worksheets, and more) to bring cellular engineering into your classroom!

Hear about the Cellular Construction Workshop from last year’s participants:

Learn how students enhance teacher learning at the Cellular Construction Workshop: