Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Synthetic Biology Course
Bacterial photography in the classroom
Bacterial photography is performed using a genetically modified bacteria which has been engineered to see light and respond by changing color. When millions of these bacteria are spread over a surface, they will imitate any image you shine on them, capturing a bacterial photograph. This is a groundbreaking demonstration of our ability to engineer nature to perform a distributed computation in response to the environment, and a striking example of what the future holds in the exciting new field of synthetic biology.
We have created a high school kit which contains everything needed for a science class to create their own bacterial photographs. Teachers familiar with bacterial transformation kits will be at home executing our three day protocol. To create their Bactograph film students mix the bacteria into specially formulated culture media, which they then cast into film by polymerizing the media via a temperature change. To take a picture students attach a hand drawn image to the film and incubate the Bactograph. The next day students observe their own bacterial photographs and analyze their performance.
For more information and details on how to request a free Bactograph kit for your classroom please follow the link below.