About Us

What is SynBio?

We're an undergraduate project-based Bioengineering organization at UC San Diego dedicated to bringing awareness to and exploring ideas in synthetic biology.

Our History

It was a dark and stormy night (not really, California is sunny 99.5% of the time) when the first inklings of SynBio sprouted in 2014. Graduate student Jenhan Tao started UC San Diego's first iGEM (an international synthetic biology competition) team. At the Boston iGEM science conference, a few undergraduates sat down in a cafe and formed the bare grounds of SynBio at UCSD.

Two years after a lot of underground meetings, the infrastructure of SynBio finally established to what you see today.

Ultimately, our mission? To hack biology. What we mean by that is that we want to establish a culture and community of DIY Biologists at UC San Diego. Our vision of SynBio is a project incubator that encourages hands-on science and provides the people and resources to develop undergraduate ideas. So if you like doing things and you like biology, we welcome people from all walks of discipline.

Open Source Biology

  • Foster open DIY biology community
  • Collaborative environment
  • Discuss and share project ideas with bio-enthusiasts

Undergraduate Education

  • Hands-on experience beyond the classroom
  • Build research skills
  • Exposure to experimental & computational concepts

iGEM Hacker Culture

  • Achieving what we thought was impossible
  • Spread this iGEM spirit
  • Establish a competitive presence at iGEM among other world-renown universiities


Weekly Journal Meeting

Scientific literature discussion and journal clubs are a fundamental part of all research labs. Drop by to talk about science!
Lead by Alex Lorenzo.

We meet Tuesday evenings for winter quarter. Sign up to the mailing list for updates!

SynBio 101 - Quarterly Workshops

Interested in learning python? Does in-lab molecular biology research intrigue you? Keep an eye out for educational resources and workshops, assembled by Educational Affairs Officers Calvin Lam and Emma Hu!


DIY Project Track

Develop your own project idea and pitch it at Spring Quater's Pitch for iGEM for a chance at sending your project to the 2019 iGEM competition!


International synthetic biology competition. Experience research from design to funding to presentation! Keep a lookout for applications to UC San Diego's 2018 iGEM team. If you have your own idea, contact our Project Development Lead Yuya Zhao.

Hackerspace Project

Long-term project to acquire on-campus BSL1 lab space. This initiative is inspired by the world's first public biology lab at our local La Jolla Riford Library and a DIY home lab formed by SynBio alumnus Pengfei Gu. If you're interested in joining the committee, reach out to External Affairs Officer Varun Govil.


Advice Hotline

The first eight listed members of the executive board are always open to answer your questions. Be it about classes, synthetic biology, or iGEM. Feel free to send us an email!

Industry Collaborations

Working to provide projects in collaboration with industry.
Project proposed by and being pioneered by Crystal Xiao.