Biology Team

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The Biology team is SSI's fourth project team, focusing on the intersection between the life sciences and space. The Biology team began work on its pilot project, building a portable, autonomous DNA Synthesizer to send to space, in the 2016-2017 academic year. The Biology team works in the Shriram Center for Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering, using the Uytengsu Teaching Lab space. It is currently developing enzymatic DNA synthesis methods and an electrowetting fluid handling platform for this project, which they aim to launch as a cubesat payload or operate on the International Space Station. The Biology team is also open to other project ideas, particularly relating to astronaut life support, biomaterials for space use, and terraforming for space colonization.

The Biology team's faculty advisor is Prof. Drew Endy, and current team co-leads are Michael Uttmark and Michael Arcidiacono.

Joining SSI Bio

1) Visit the How to join SSI page and complete the four steps to joining SSI. Congratulations! You're now an SSI member. Continue on for biology.

2) Complete the EHS-1500 AXESS safety training. Upload documentation onto, under 'Trainings,' under 'Biology Safety Training.' A screenshot is fine as documentation. In case you run into problems at this step, simply e-mail the co-leads( and proof of completion.

3) Complete the Lab Safety Form. Completion of EHS-1500, EHS-1900, and EHS-2200 (included in general SSI trainings) is counted as completion of EHS-PROG-4875.

4) Join the SlackLogo.png#biology  Slack channel. Feel free to also join any of our additional subteam Slack channels - SlackLogo.png#biology-backspace , SlackLogo.png#biology-device , and SlackLogo.png#biology-reading .

5) Fill out this brief interest form.

Congratulations! That's it!

Our Projects

We're currently building a DNA Synthesizer to make DNA in space. Come join us! Our 2017-2018 team is subdivided into three groups--one working on DNA synthesis with chemical blocking groups, one that will use exonuclease, and one designing an Electrowetting on Dielectric fluid handling platform. See a list of ongoing subprojects and tasks here.


Map to our lab space (circled in red).

Meeting Times: General Biology meetings are at Durand 450 on Tuesdays at 7:00pm. Biology's Terminator subteam meets on Sundays at 3:00pm in ESIII and runs experiments on Thursdays in Shriram 114 at 7:30pm. Biology's Backspace subteam meets on Saturdays at 2:00pm in FloMo Courtyard and runs experiments on Wednesdays in Shriram 114 at 6:30pm. Biology's device design subteam meets on Saturdays at 3:30pm in ESIII.


Once you're part of SSI's Slack team, we encourage you to join biology-related channels. SlackLogo.png#biology  and SlackLogo.png#biology-reading  are great places to start. SlackLogo.png#biology-backspace  is where we work on Enzymatic Synthesis Methods, and SlackLogo.png#biology-device  is for developing our Electrowetting on Dielectric system.

Mailing List

Most of our communication is done through Slack, but we also have a mailing list for important announcements and events.

Google Drive

Check out the Biology team folder in the SSI Google Drive for useful documents, including the Biology inventory, readings spreadsheet, and solution calculator.


We use Overleaf to write up protocols and analysis for our experiments. Our generic protocol template is on Slack, as well as some examples of previous experiments we've run.


SSI Biology uses a Mendeley community to keep track of relevant papers and protocols.