Entering 10 – 12

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 the fields of biology and engineering. Together we will build nature-inspired robots, investigate the science that enables geckos to defy gravity, and even engineer our own 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. Plus, you will meet UC Berkeley scientist and professor Dr. Robert Full, who developed the Integrative Biology course on which this program is based

Non-residential with Optional Residential Add-on

Camp Info

Dates: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m, 06/12/2023 – 06/16/2023

Location: Valley Life Sciences Building, UC Berkeley Campus

Housing (optional): Purchase on-campus housing, breakfast, and dinner for an additional cost of $900. Runs Sunday, June 11 through Friday, June 16. Spots are limited and may sell out.

Food: Lunch is provided.

Program Tuition: $1,150 or $995(reduced)


A Day in the Life

Our days begin with gathering on campus and signing in to our respective tracks. Teens head to their lab spaces and form an opening circle to frame the day, including a quick social check-in and a themed invitation to learning. Teens then engage in related explorations and investigations in small groups, such as building and experimenting with a 3D-printed prosthetic hand, assembling and testing a cockroach-inspired robot, or making and testing a gecko-inspired adhesive. Each activity includes an extension to translate learning to solve a real-life problem using these bioinspired designs. Midday, teens take time to eat lunch at a campus dining hall and enjoy some social downtime together. Afternoons continue investigations and incorporate tours to related labs, museum exhibits, and sites both on and off campus. Alternatively, grad students or faculty may join the group for Q&A and sharing about cutting-edge research happening on or off campus. As the week unfolds, teens are engaged in small-group self-directed research and/or project-based learning toward presentations at the end of the program. Content wraps up with a closing circle around 3:45 p.m., after which the teens gather together again for additional science and engineering career pathway programming in mixed groups. This can include a campus tour, current student panel Q&A, and other personal or professional development workshops. If you are on the commuter track you will head home at 5:30, while residential track teens stay on for dinner and evening activities— both involving social and college preparedness—and then sleep in the UC Berkeley dorms.

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.