How to Grow Almost Anything

Mae govannen! I'm Vivian Zhong, a senior in course 20 (Biological Engineering), and a lover of all things plants and fantasy. I'm a UROP in the Weng Lab at the Whitehead Institute, where I'm working to elucidate the biosynthetic pathway of resiniferatoxin, a capsaicin (the "spice molecule") analogue. My favorite trees include ginkgo and quaking aspen, and I can talk your ears off about how fascinating genetically-engineered crops are.

Herein lies a record for posterity of my work for How to Grow (Almost) Anything, a class in which we explore a spectrum of ways to apply the "maker" approach to biology.

Class Projects

Week 1: Principles & Practices

In which I feel bad about how wasteful lab research is

Week 2: BioDesign

Why buy DNA ladders when you can make your own?

Week 3: Hardware

Hacking a fly swatter for transformation by electroporation

Week 4: Chromophore Libraries

Can you paint with all the colors of the amilCP fluorescent protein?

Week 5: Bioproduction

50 shades of carotenoids

Week 6: Protein Design

In silico folding

Week 7: Microbiome and Microfluidics

A small wiggle for microbe, a giant effect for microbiome

Week 11: Genome engineering

Finally checking CRISPR off my to-do list

Final Project: Bee Bread

Hunting for bee yeast