VentureWell at MPBIL

The TEAM Molecular Prototyping and BioInnovation Lab (MPBIL) facility is a unique teaching and hands-on learning environment built to support a broad range of activities in biotechnology, molecular engineering and synthetic biology. MPBIL provides new experiential learning programs in molecular prototyping and biomanufacturing for undergraduate students at the University of California, Davis, supports student club activities and facilitates the early-stage development of biotechnologies by undergraduates with an interest in entrepreneurship.

One of MPBIL’s overarching goals is to create the best possible training program for students interested in becoming catalysts for an emerging bioeconomy. To this end MPBIL accomplishes this by: (a) giving students the technical training and the opportunity to design and build molecular and/or cellular-based products and/or associated technologies; (b) providing training on and an environment that stresses the responsible use of technology; and (c) providing mentorship and opportunities for entrepreneurship through partnerships with key members of the UC Davis entrepreneurship landscape, the UC Davis Child Family Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CFIIE), the Engineering Translational Technology Center (ETTC), and Engineering Student Startup Center (ESSC).

Many activities in the lab are supported by a grant awarded to Professor Facciotti by the VentureWell Foundation through their Faculty Grants program.  This grant enhances two existing technical courses in molecular engineering and synthetic biology, makes possible freshman-level experiential courses, and creates a framework to support and funnel creative and entrepreneurial students to campus resources that can help them learn about and explore routes to commercialization.  High-achieving student teams funded by this grant are also encouraged to apply for additional support from VentureWell through their E-team mechanism.  

If you are a UC Davis undergraduate student and would like to inquire about participating in this program or to inquire about competing for funding from Prof. Facciotti’s VentureWell grant, contact Prof. Facciotti directly at <mtfacciotti at ucdavis>.  Click below to start the application process.



Example Student Projects and Activities in MPBIL:
Ambercycle Inc.Akshay Sethi, Mubasher Ahmed (College of Biological Sciences) – Engineering enzymatic catalysts to degrade polyethylene terephthalate.

  • Awarded Phase I ($5000) and Phase II ($20,000) E-team awards from VentureWell
  • Moved to new location at a biotechnology incubator space in the heart of San Francisco
  • Award H&M Global Change Award (€250,000)
ChromatiscopeAlexander Godbout, Nick Dao, Lisa Isles (College of Engineering) – Development of a handheld cellphone based fluorometer to enable the use of modern day molecular markers in high school classrooms.

  • Awarded Phase I ($5000) from VentureWell E-team; applied for Phase II
Ravata SolutionsArshia Firouzi (College of Engineering), Gurkern Sufi (College of Biological Sciences) – Creating new tools for transgenic cell development

Classes, Training and recruitment
Supported a new laboratory extension of courses BIM140 (Protein Engineering) & BIM143 (Synthetic Biology).  Supporting 4-6 hands-on freshman seminar CURE courses in collaboration with other instructors and Ashley Vater in the UC Davis Freshman Seminars Program.  Supported hands-on design course in biomaterials DES128 offered by Prof. Christina Cogdell.  Supporting various Sr. Design projects from multiple departments.  Lab home of the Synthetic Biology club at UC Davis and the iGEM team at UC Davis. 

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