BABEC at San Francisco Unified School District Science Professional Development day

Summer is almost over for many in the Bay Area and as students prepare for their first day of school, so too are teachers preparing for the new school year with a day of professional development.


For the second year, the BABEC team was invited to host a workshop for SFUSD science teachers during their Science PD day.  In addition to introducing them to BABEC’s growing team and starting a discussion about how BABEC can better serve the SFUSD science community, we had an opportunity to walk them through lab management and lesson plan particulars surrounding BABEC’s Bacterial Transformation curriculum.



The workshop ended with a presentation from Karen Leung about the Biotechnology Program at City College of San Francisco.



Special thanks to Sarah Delaney and the SFUSD Science Team for inviting BABEC to participate!


Cristy Walcher-ChevilletBABEC at San Francisco Unified School District Science Professional Development day

The teachers behind BABEC curriculum updates

One of BABEC’s core values is to be responsive to teacher needs by providing relevant, teacher-generated content. This summer, BABEC has been working to meet that core value by updating and aligning our curriculum with to the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Any seasoned educator will tell you this is a Herculean task, so we have been extremely fortunate to be working with teachers across the Bay Area to help us tackle this project.

Given all their hard work, we wanted to introduce you to this amazing team that has been working side-by-side with BABEC personal. We could not have done this without them!

Debbie Clark
Debbie teaches biology and biotechnology at Arroyo High School in San Lorenzo and since 2012 she has been a biotechnology teacher for the Advanced Talent and Development Program at Cal during the summer. She became involved with BABEC in 2002 and is currently a BABEC board member. Debbie is very excited to be part of updating the BABEC curriculum as she wants more teachers to experience the excitement she’s had over the years using BABEC lessons. She hopes that the NGSS aligned lessons will encourage more teachers to participate in BABEC trainings and bring  this curriculum to their students. In her spare time, Debbie enjoys traveling, cooking, gardening and honing her skills as a novice birdwatcher.

Elizabeth Doggett
Elizabeth teaches biology and biotechnology at San Mateo High School and have been using BABEC curriculum since her student teaching days at Sequoia High School. The bacterial transformation lab is an essential part of Elizabeth’s curriculum so she has been excited to help with making it more accessible to English Language Learners as it provides an elegant context for students to ask questions and deepen their understanding of genetic engineering, the role of DNA in determining traits, and is just a fun, awe-inspiring lab. When not tackling curriculum, Elizabeth has spent her summer traveling to Africa with her husband, including a safari in Tanzania where they witnessed amazing ecological population dynamics in action!

Michelle Lafevre-Bernt
Michelle teaches Chemistry, Biology and Biotechnology at San Marin High School in Novat and has used BABEC curriculum since 2009. She volunteered to help with the updates because she believes that the BABEC curricula are a valuable resource to those who teach and learn biotech in the San Francisco Bay Area, and believe in the BABEC mission to bring current, relevant biotech experiences to students. Michelle have worked extensively on aligning  the life science curriculum for her school district with the Next Generation Science Standards, making her a valuable resource as BABEC updates and aligns their curricula to NGSS. In her down time, Michelle enjoys reading, gardening, hiking and camping and recently spent time in Washington DC with her brother, sister and their spouses.

Kent Morales
Kent teaches Biology and Physiology at San Rafael High School and have been using BABEC curriculum for four years. Working on this curriculum allows Kent to learn more about biotech and teaching from the wonderful teachers and professionals on the team. It also has allowed him to reflect on how we can make biotech more exciting and accessible for our students so that they can possibly pursue a career in the field one day. When not swimming or working in the yard this summer, Kent have been preparing for a backpacking adventure with his wife and two young children in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

Patrick Roisen
Patrick teaches AP Biology and Integrated Science at Menlo-Atherton High School, has been using the Gene Connection/BABEC curriculum for 25 years and part of BABEC for 24 years. Patrick volunteered to help update the curriculum because he feels biotechnology is incredibly important for students to learn about, both for possible careers, but also so they can make informed decisions about the laws that need to be developed around biotechnology. This summer, Patrick went to Norway, and climbed up to see a glacier up close.



Denise Kwan
Denise teaches Biology for Newcomers and AP Environmental Science at Galileo Academy of Science and Technology. She is new to the BABEC community and used its curriculum for the first time last year! Denise volunteered to help with the updates to make the information clearer to other teachers who are new to BABEC. This summer, Denise went to Europe with her family; her favorite landmark was La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona.


BABEC curricula update work is sponsored by: 

Cristy Walcher-ChevilletThe teachers behind BABEC curriculum updates

Meet BABEC’s summer high school student intern!

Meet BABEC’s summer high school student intern, Christina Lin! Christina started working with BABEC in June and has been helping with reagent preparation and getting the portable laboratory updated and prepared for the 2018-2019 school year. We’ve greatly enjoyed having her join our team.

Some of you may be curious as to what a BABEC summer high school intern is and what they might do. To answer that, we sat down with Christina for an informal Q&A.

Tell us a little bit about yourself
I was born and raised in the Bay Area and am currently going to school at San Mateo High School. Of all the classes I have taken, my favorite classes have always been my science classes because I love trying to understand how things work. Whether as a tutor for biology or as president of my high school’s Women in STEM (WiSTEM) club, a club that I started in order to get other girls excited about STEM fields, I want to share my passion for science with others.

I am strongly considering pursuing a career in the sciences, so my internship at BABEC has given me a better idea of what this might be like. Music is also a huge part of my life as I play both the piano and violin. As concertmaster of my school orchestra, I have played throughout the community and in the orchestra pit for multiple musical theater productions. I also play with the Peninsula Youth Orchestra and have especially enjoyed playing on international tours in Europe. In addition, I enjoy volunteering in my community, helping patients with Alzheimer’s Disease and being an active member of my city’s Youth Activities Council.

How did you learn about interning at BABEC? Why was this opportunity interesting to you?
The practical applications of biotechnology can be seen all around us, and I am excited by how biotechnology

can be useful in research and future discoveries. I was first inspired by biotechnology when I was in middle school and had the opportunity to extract and analyze DNA in a summer science program. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to continue biotechnology as a class at San Mateo High School with its state-of-the-art labs and training facility. Through my high school’s biotechnology program, I was able to get an internship with BABEC. Not only has my internship at BABEC help me gain more hands-on laboratory experience, but it has also given me the opportunity to help provide biotechnology experiences to other Bay Area students who may not have had this exposure otherwise.

What have you been doing as an intern?
As an intern at BABEC, I have had the wonderful opportunity to gain real-world work experience. I have helped with refurbishing portable biotechnology labs and making sure that everything is in working order for the upcoming school year. I have also gained hands-on laboratory experience by preparing a variety of chemical reagents, performing plasmid preparations, and learning other exciting laboratory procedures and skills.

What’s been your most memorable experience?
I have been thoroughly enjoying my experience at BABEC, but my most memorable experience would definitely be of the people that I work with. I have been excited to learn new things and to work side by side with experts in the science and education field. I am also inspired by the group’s mission and enthusiasm of making biotechnology education available to everyone.

From a student perceptive, why is BABEC important for the biotechnology/biosciences community?
The biotechnology industry is growing, and I believe more students need to be introduced to advancing technology in the biosciences. It is wonderful that BABEC provides teachers the opportunities to practice real science in their classrooms by giving them the materials and tools that they need to accomplish this goal. Students learn better with hands-on exposure through laboratory experiments, and many of these experiments make learning more fun and exciting. BABEC supports an active-learning model, and I believe that their work will help prepare and inspire the scientists of tomorrow.

Thanks so much Christina for chatting with us today! For more information about future internship opportunities, please monitor our Job Openings page or Contact Us for more information.

Cristy Walcher-ChevilletMeet BABEC’s summer high school student intern!

BABEC Fall 2018 Kickoff

September 8, 2018 @ Skyline College – Register Here!

BABEC 2.0 – Curriculum Classics for the New Era!
Please join us for an engaging and inspiring day of community with other biology and biotech teachers from across the Bay Area. The theme for this year’s event is “BABEC 2.0 – Curriculum Classics for the New Era”, and is the official release of our much-anticipated curriculum updates

Keynote Address

Highlighting Diversity While Covering Biology Content
Jeff SchinskeJeff Schinske, PhD
Biology Instructor, Foothill College
Principal Investigator & Co-Director, NSF CCB FEST
Co-Principal Investigator & Co-Director NSF CC Bio INSITES

Jeff’s research focuses on equity and inclusion in science classrooms, the underrepresentation of community colleges in biology education research, and faculty development. He will present the latest research into how conventional stereotypes of scientists adversely affect students by inhibiting diversity in STEM fields. He will also discuss tested classroom strategies for educators to combat these biases.

Official Release of Updated Curricula

Come see all of your old favorites in a new light

  • Updated lessons to be user-friendly with a new look and feel, and more NGSS aligned.
  • Concurrent sessions & hands-on rotating activity stations will allow you to explore the changes at your own pace

  • Teacher Panel Discussion

    Lab Management Tips & Tricks for BABEC Activities

  • Know you’re not alone and that there are resources and community there to help!
  • Hear Experienced & New teachers share their strategies, insights, and greatest fears about teaching Biotech Lab Activities

  • Sponsored by: 

    Kitty MeiBABEC Fall 2018 Kickoff

    Spring 2018 – Mitochondrial DNA Workshop

    Save the Date! Saturday, February 10th 2018

    Discover where you are really from! Learn about Mitochondrial DNA and its role in human ancestry.

    Join us and learn how this curriculum makes teaching NGSS easy! We will be covering PCR, Sequencing, and SNPs.

    Register Here!

    • Breakfast, lunch, and a $100 stipend will be provided
    • Its FREE! To reserve a seat, please pay a $25 deposit fee which will be refunded to you upon arrival (if you need to cancel, please do so within 72 hours or the deposit will be forfeited)
    • Take BART! BART is only 2 flat blocks away (24th & Mission Station). If driving, we encourage carpooling and parking at the nearby garage will be fully reimbursed.
    • High school and community college science teachers have priority for this workshop.


    City College of San Francisco, Mission Campus
    1125 Valencia Street
    San Francisco, CA 94110


    • BART: 2 blocks from the Mission & 24th Station
    • Driving: Parking fees will be reimbursed by BABEC when parking at the Mission-Bartlett Garage


    • Saturday, February 10th 2018
    • 8:30am – 3:30pm
    • Please plan to arrive at 8:30am for a breakfast and networking. Workshop will start promptly at 9:00am
    Kitty MeiSpring 2018 – Mitochondrial DNA Workshop

    Wolbachia Lab

    On November 1st, 2017, six teachers joined us for an informal Wolbachia training, which grew out of individual teacher’s need to get experience.  Wolbachia lab empowers educators to bring real-world scientific research into the classroom with inquiry, discovery and biotechnology. Teachers learned techniques to test for the presence of the bacterial endosymbiont Wolbachia in insects of various orders. Ralph Hammond subsequently did the lab in his Biology classes, reporting that 40% of samples tested positive for Wolbachia.  Good Job Westmoor Students!  Do you need training on a specific protocol?  Please contact us, and we can explore options together


    Kitty MeiWolbachia Lab

    Bacterial Transformation with a NGSS Twist

    On October 28th, 2017 teachers from the Bay Area joined us at our Bacterial Transformation workshop. After observing phenomena of natural and induced bacterial transformations, teachers incorporated a green fluorescent protein (GFP) from the bioluminescent jellyfish Aequorea Victoria into a plasmid along with a gene for resistance to the antibiotic ampicillin. Teachers were excited to learn how to make white bacteria turn green!

    Kitty MeiBacterial Transformation with a NGSS Twist

    Getting Started Workshop – October 7th, 2017

    On October 7th BABEC introduced the new getting started series with Bioscience lab skills that have been NGSS-ed. Dr. Ying Tsu engaged teachers with anchoring questions and investigating phenomena to drive instructions.



    New and veteran teachers practiced micropipetting while creating art projects. The Electrophoresis lab included food dye to teach how molecules of dye migrate at different rate through a matrix based on their molecular structure, charge, and molecular weight. Teachers also extracted food coloring from Skittles and predicted what “known” dyes make up the color of Skittles.

    Kitty MeiGetting Started Workshop – October 7th, 2017

    NGSS Rollout #4

    On September 12-14 2017, Ying-Tsu went to the Alameda County NGSS Rollout #4 to further supplement BABEC’s understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards to make sure we are doing our fullest in updating our curricula to best fit into the scope of NGSS.

    In the High School Biology breakout session, more concrete examples were given regarding phenomenon and the difference between anchoring and investigative phenomenon. Below are some resources:

    Using the CA Science Framework to Implement NGSS
    California 2016 Science Framework


    Kitty MeiNGSS Rollout #4