DBE: Discover Biological Engineering


If your dream is to be a mad scientist that creates new life (whether or not for diabolical purposes), biological engineering is the major for you!

Biological Engineering is an up and coming major both at MIT and the world. With biological engineering, you can literally engineer life, and learn exactly what makes our bodies tick! Through the curriculum you can learn how drugs like Tylenol work once you swallow the pill, use CRISPRi to manipulate e. coli, build microscopes, and work with stem cells!

But now you’re wondering…. how do I get started?!?!

You should consider discovering bioengineering at MIT!

The Department of Biological Engineering was founded in 1998 with the mission of defining and establishing a new discipline fusing molecular life sciences with engineering. The goal of this biological engineering discipline is to advance fundamental understanding of how biological systems operate and to develop effective biology-based technologies for applications across a wide spectrum of societal needs including breakthroughs in diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, in design of novel materials, devices, and processes, and in enhancing environmental health. Our pre-orientation program serves to help YOU explore the field. This unique opportunity will allow you to learn about upcoming research, therapies, and industries while also providing you with hands-on experience and helping you obtain an early introduction to MIT and Boston.

What Will We Do?

We will be exploring biological engineering in the classroom, through research, and in the industry. We will participate in some of these exciting events:

  • Listening to lectures from our BE faculty on current research: tissue engineering, siRNA, and nanotechnology are only a small part of cutting edge research at MIT.
  • Visiting BE labs and learning about new processes: such as the Langer Lab and the Lauffenburger Lab [google them!], etc.
  • Performing hands-on experiments in BE labs: such as bacterial transformation/manipulations and building a microscope from scratch!
  • Discovering and touring BE start-up companies and meeting with their founders: such as Gingo-Bioworks and Lab Central
  • Touring industries in the area: such as Genzyme, Novartis, etc.
  • Learning about the major and gaining advice from current students.
  • Meeting with BE faculty and discussing your future goals at MIT: our faculty include Profs. Lauffenburger, Griffith, Kamm, Samson, and Belcher.
  • Exploring Boston, Cambridge, and MIT campus with your fantastic mentors: dinners out, movies, and fun outings like bowling or improv!
  • Gaining 23 new freshman friends!
  • Over the course of four days, you will be touring, exploring, and learning about current and past biological engineering research and developments. You will even be able to participate in labs constructed to introduce you to the field. You will also explore the surrounding area with industry tours, dinners out, and fun activities in Boston!

Be part of something new!

Not only is Biological Engineering a new major at MIT, but this is the fourth year that the Department of Biological Engineering will be offering a pre-orientation program. We strongly welcome and encourage your comments, suggestions, and feedback. If there is a biological engineering question you would like to explore, let us know! Be a part of a new program full of education and FUN experiences!

DBE Specifics

  • Dates: Wednesday, August 22 – Sunday, August 26
  • Place: Freshmen will be housed in their assigned dormitory.
  • Available Spaces: 24
  • Cost: $50. The cost includes most meals, transportation, and supplies. Some meals and activities will need to be paid for individually.