Organized by the Community Biotechnology Initiative, Molecular Machines, and other researchers at the MIT Media Lab, HTG(A)A is a course that aims to equip everyone, regardless of their background, with access to cutting-edge knowledge, skills, and laboratory equipment for executing their ideas, while incorporating the latest in biosafety and bioethics.
The foundation of the HTG(A)A approach is teaching the fundamentals of SynBio as quickly, deeply, and safely as possible through hands-on exercises and creative projects across a variety of scales and contexts.
The class's model combines lessons, hands-on lab work and world class experts in a unique mixture that allows for students to engage and contribute within the growing SynBio field. These ideas were put into practice with a group of global and MIT students during the 2021 Spring Term and resulted in a new distance learning model for democratizing SynBio education.
A key element in the model is the application of lab robots for distance education. At the core of the educational system is a robotic liquid handler. The robot can be directly programmed to transfer liquids and modulate temperatures, allowing students to carry out a wide range of lab protocols such as PCR, cloning, and transformation into bacterial cells.