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Imagine a future where students not only learn about biology, but also make and design with biology — from prototyping bio-molecules for curing diseases, engineering biological computers, and printing biomaterials for our sustainable future. These ideas are possible now in the “How to Grow Almost Anything” class at the MIT Media Lab.

Credit: How to Grow (Almost) Anything class (htgaat)

From dinosaur to flower, human to bacteria, weed to a cute little kitten, living organisms are some of the most diverse, beautiful, and efficient systems in the world. Throughout history and culture, humanity has been collaborating with nature and harnessing biology as a form of technology to make food, medicine, cloth, buildings, and more. Arguably, biotechnology is one of the most ancient and yet the most powerful technology to humankind.

My name is Pat. I am a graduate student in the MIT Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces group. I participated in the new MIT class called “How to Grow (Almost) Anything” (HTGAAT) this semester. I had known David Kong, the lead instructor of the class, for a while as one of the best DJs of the Media Lab, and as the beloved director of the MIT Media Lab Biotech Initiative. When I heard of the class, I had no doubt that it would be as cool and hip as his hiphop music. Our class is also co-taught by Professor Joseph Jacobson from the MIT Media Lab, and Professor George Church from Harvard Medical School, as well as Suryateja Jammalamadaka, Noah Jakimo, and Pranam Chatterjee as student TAs.

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When it comes to biotechnology, people usually think of crazy scientists creating zombies, GMOs, or bio-weapons — but that is the opposite of our

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The class introduced students from all backgrounds to the emerging areas of biodesign, biotechnology, and synthetic biology, enabling the students to unleash

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