And so, I will draw on yet another life lesson gleaned from Sesame Street: the effective use of show-and-tell (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K8AtiR8t3oY), as hosted by Ernie. With the use of a few specific examples, the scope of biological engineering could be more readily elucidated and understood by the average layperson.
I spent Thanksgiving break this year in Texas. While I was there, I wanted to show my family the work that I had been doing throughout this school year. I had many course 20 projects to show them. First, I described the design project I completed in 20.320 (Biomolecular and Cellular Systems). I showed them the liposome signaling system that I devised, the mathematical equations that modeled the relationships within that system, and the MATLAB code that I wrote to implement its functionality. I also explained the modules that I had been working on within 20.109. I talked about engineering plasmids as a way to monitor homologous recombination of DNA, using bacteria to take photographs, and most recently, making solar cells with the help of bacteriophage. By using the models and figures/images and data that I had collected through these projects, I was able to show and tell them what biological engineering meant to me: the ability to design and engineer biological components and systems to solve problems, serve useful functions, or even just to demonstrate “cool” and novel science.