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Bioinspired Design

Can scientists and engineers adapt ideas from nature to solve real-world problems? Discover how scientists are taking inspiration from the natural world to spark innovation in biology and engineering. Together we will build nature-inspired robots, investigate the science enabling geckos to defy gravity, and even engineer our design application to address a real-life problem. You will gain skills and knowledge about bio-inspired engineering and design while adding valuable experience to your college and career pathways. Parents are invited at 3 p.m. on the last day to see and hear teens share their projects and receive their U.C. Berkeley certificate of completion.

This program is in partnership with the Integrative Biology Lab and based on Dr. Robert Full’s college course.

Students are working together in small groups to build a robot.

Program Info

Dates: 06/10/2024 – 06/14/2024, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. 

Location: Valley Life Sciences Building, UC Berkeley Campus

Food: Lunch is provided. Teens bring a water bottle, hat, and snacks from home

Program Tuition: $1,350 or $1,215 (reduced)

Non-residential with Optional Residential Add-on

Residential Option runs Sunday, June 16, 4:00 p.m. through Friday, June 21, 5:00 p.m. 

Residential add-on includes additional programming, on-campus housing, breakfast, and dinner. 

Residential Tuition: $1,150 or $1,035 (reduced) Limited spots available!
Seeking Financial Aid? Learn More >

Register

A Day in the Life

Your days begin with gathering on campus and signing in to your respective program tracks. From there, you head to your respective lab spaces and form an opening circle to frame the day, including a quick social check-in and content-related invitation to learning. Each day you get to engage in STEM-related explorations and investigations, sometimes in pairs and sometimes in small groups. You build and experiment with a 3D-printed prosthetic hand, assemble and test a cockroach-inspired robot, or make and test a gecko-inspired adhesive. Each activity includes an extension to translate learning to solve a real-life problem using these natural world-inspired designs. Midday, you take time to eat lunch on campus and enjoy some social downtime with peers in your track and other STEM tracks. Afternoons continue investigations and incorporate tours to related labs, museum exhibits, and sites on and off campus. Some days include graduate students or faculty joining you for Q&A and sharing about cutting-edge research happening on or off campus. As the week unfolds, you engage in small-group, self-directed research and/or project-based learning toward presentations on the last day of the program. Your STEM track content wraps up with a closing circle around 3:30 p.m. Afterward, you gather together for additional unique career pathway programming in mixed groups. This can include a U.C. Berkeley campus tour, a current student panel and Q&A, and other personal or professional development workshops. Programming concludes at 5 p.m. If you opt for the residential track, you will stay on campus for dinner and evening activities— both involving social and college preparedness—and then sleep in the U.C. Berkeley dorms.

Innovation Captured: A Visual Journey through the World of BioDesign Excellence.

Staff Bio

Haider Ali Bhatti
Originally from Pakistan, Ali Bhatti and his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Englewood, New Jersey. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J., followed by a master’s degree in Biological Science Education at Rutgers’ Graduate School of Education. After graduating, Ali taught high school biology and worked at the Khan Academy as a Biology Content Fellow.

Currently, Ali is a Ph.D. student in the SESAME program at UC Berkeley, where his research focuses on how to make STEM education more inclusive, interpersonal, and interdisciplinary through the context of bioinspired design. He is advised by Professor Robert Full of the Integrative Biology department and is working on the HHMI Eyes Toward Tomorrow Bioinspired Design Program. He loves sports, so you can catch him on the basketball court missing wide-open 3’s or turning off the TV in frustration as his favorite teams (Nets, Mets, and AC Milan) maintain their mediocrity.

Amber Young

Amber Young is a STEM enthusiast hailing from Atlanta, Georgia! Amber has always been fascinated by animal behavior, math, and robotics, and has been on a mission to learn as much as she can about them. Her passion for these subjects led her to some amazing opportunities to do research on the physics of animal locomotion and bio-inspired robotics.

Currently, Amber is a mechanical engineering MS/PhD student at UC Berkeley, where she conducts research with the Embodied Dexterity Group. Before that, she earned a B.S. in Physics from Yale University in May 2021. In addition to her academic pursuits, Amber is also committed to helping underrepresented students access quality education, particularly in physics. She believes that everyone should have the opportunity to learn and grow. When Amber isn’t busy with her studies, she loves to explore the world around her by crossing things off her bucket list.