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Biological Research

Three-Week Summer Science Program

This program was named Top Science Program in the US by the New York Times subsidiary,

The application is live up for Summer 2021!
If we can run in person, we will. If we need to run remotely, we will.

Biological Research: Synthetic Biology has won numerous awards and sold out multiple years in a row. Why? Because this cutting-edge program, one of the most lab-intensive at BLI, covers topics you won’t see in high school. Synthetic Biology, gene therapy, and genetic engineering will allow scientists to eliminate genetic diseases and mutations, saving lives across the globe. Genetic engineers are working to eliminate cancer-causing mutations, lessen the impact of Down Syndrome, and provide the ability to hear to deaf patients for the first time. They can even engineer bacteria to break down plaque in the bloodstream, eliminating blood clots that would otherwise result in fatal strokes.  The new frontier of modern medicine has arrived, and this summer at BLI, you can be a part of it.

What are you waiting for? Apply now. Not ready to apply? Join the Mailing List.

This is a competitive admissions summer research program designed for teens.

Students do an advanced experiment in the Biological Research: Synthetic Biology three-week program


Session 1: June 21 – July 9, 2021

Dana Hall – Wellesley, MA


Session 2: July 12 – July 30, 2021

Dana Hall – Wellesley, MA

Our Instructor

Jim Dixon was named 2012 Outstanding Biology Teacher by the National Association of Biology Teachers.  He developed the Synthetic Biology curriculum with colleagues at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  Mr. Dixon has taught college-level Biology courses at Northeastern University.  He developed scientific curricula with colleagues at Harvard University and Understanding by Design. He has been recognized as Presidential Distinguished Teacher and Massachusetts Master Teacher. Mr. Dixon teaches Biology and AP Biology at Sharon High School where he is advisor for the genetic engineering team and Science Club. He has taught at Sharon High School since 2004 and is a co-advisor for the Science Olympiad team.

Jim dixon faculty photo 1

Read our students’ accounts of our Biological Research program written for Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth’s Imagine Magazine.

Cover of the March / April edition of the Imagine Magazine

The article Designer Genes by Sachi Lagwankar shows how the author was immersed in the field of Biology during BLI’s Biological Research program. She writes that the program helped her learn in a way that no high-school lab could. Read more

The article Forging a Path in Synthetic Biology by Jeremy Wang describes how BLI’s Biological Research program furthered his understanding & further motivated him to study Synthetic Biology and how the research he did helped him. Read more

Cover of the January / February edition of the Imagine Magazine

Student Comments for Biological Research

‘I liked the program and especially the labs that we did because we get to do things and use equipment beyond what is available in school. Jim is a great teacher and did a great job balancing different levels of previous knowledge/experience that people have.’

‘He was very good at explaining things in a way that make it easy to understand. I loved that we got to do a lot of hands-on work in the lab.’

‘I liked that the class didn’t really feel like school yet I still learned a lot from it. The teachers were all really nice and good teachers.’

‘Jim was an amazing instructor. The TA’s were great with lab preparation as well. Jim had very structured lectures, he was energetic and funny, whilst still bringing the concept through for us to understand. The class taught specific techniques that would be very useful for using real world lab and the CRISPR lab taught us a revolutionary technology.’

‘I really enjoyed Jim and all of the labs we did. I liked that I got to experience what it is like working in a real lab. I enjoyed the lectures in the morning and I thought that the day was spaced out and planned really well. Jim was very knowledgeable about the subject and I loved the field trips my class went on.’

Students do scientific research in the Biological Research three-week program
Students do an experiment in the Biological Research three-week program

Student Comments (Continued)

‘Biological Research involves learning about modern genetic research. This program has allowed me to explore the biotechnology field and has showed lab techniques that school hasn’t yet. I have grown interest in research in fields of biology. In conclusion, this program has been a great experience for me because of the supportive teachers and staff and the interesting topics.’

‘I really enjoyed learning about a completely new topic and discovering a potential career interest. I also learned a lot about biotech and biochemistry which was interesting and I’m sure will prove valuable in the future.’ 

‘The program was very informative and provided an amazing experience. The teacher was very good at explaining the material and giving us breaks to synthesize the information. He made it easy to connect with him through his many life anecdotes. I liked the uniqueness of the program as it gave us students a chance to perform experiences that normal high schoolers never get the opportunity to do. The labs were by far the best part because it allowed us to apply our knowledge..’

‘The program was a good experience for learning what kind of labs and work synthetic biologists do. Jim was a funny teacher that taught us a lot of advanced content in a fun manner that kept us engaged.

BioSTEM Award, 2018, J&J • Top Summer Science Program, 2011-2019, NY Times/ • Top Robotics Program, 2017, RoboLoco • Best Medicine Program, 2018, ParentMap • Top Biomedical Engineering, •
Top 101 Summer Camps & Programs, • Top Biomedical Engineering, 2017,

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