Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Synthetic Biology Course
Bacterial photography in the classroom
Tabor Lab researchers have adapted Jeff Tabor’s pioneering work on bacterial photography into a low-cost, easy-to-use K12 kit enabling students to create their own photographs in the classroom using engineered bacteria.
Bacterial photographs are taken with E. coli which have been genetically engineered to sense red light and respond by producing indigo, the same dye used in blue jeans. When a culture of these E. coli are cast into molten agar and exposed to a red image, they develop a replica of the image, creating a “bacterial photograph” which lasts indefinitely. This highly visual classroom experiment demonstrates to students core biology principles and excites them about cutting edge research and future careers in STEM fields.
We are currently distributing our kit free of charge to high school classrooms, universities, and museums on a limited basis. If you are interested in using our kit please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email include your class size, number of bactographs requested, shipping address and when you wish to receive the kit. The kit is stable for at least 2 weeks at 4°C. If you would like to keep up to date on our progress please send an email to email@example.com. To date over 800 high school students have taken Bactographs, and over 175 teachers have tested our kits, and we are excited to share this science with as many people as possible.