Student & Postdoc Association

The EBRC Student & Postdoc Association (SPA) is an organization of graduate students and postdocs from around the world. The SPA facilitates communication between students and postdocs engaged with engineering biology throughout the United States and with EBRC Individual and Institutional Members.


Interested in joining SPA?

The benefits of SPA include being part of a community of engineering biology-focused scientists and engineers on a national scale. SPA members are the first to hear about new EBRC programs and activities and have access to special content on the EBRC website. Members of the SPA may participate in EBRC Annual Meetings. Travel support is available for those members playing an active roles in meetings (e.g. speakers, session chairs).

Apply for SPA Membership →

Programs & Activities

The SPA organizes and hosts a variety of activities, including site visits to companies in close proximity to EBRC events, networking opportunities for SPA and EBRC members, and workshops in conjunction with EBRC Annual Meetings.

  • resume book

    Student & Postdoc Resume Book

    EBRC hosts a CV/resume book to connect our industry members and SPA members. Want access? Join EBRC.

    More →

SPA Board

The SPA is run by an elected board. The SPA board is responsible for the general leadership of the association, interfacing with EBRC leadership, organizing and hosting SPA events, and identifying individuals to contribute to the work in EBRC’s focus areas.

Membership Guidelines

Compiled by the SPA Board, January 2019


A member of the EBRC SPA is any graduate student or postdoc doing work relevant to synthetic biology at a U.S. academic or non-profit institution who has gone through the membership application process and been approved by the SPA Board.

An international affiliate of the EBRC SPA is any graduate student or postdoc doing work relevant to synthetic biology outside of the U.S. at an academic or non-profit institution who has gone through the membership application process and been approved by the SPA Board. They retain all the same benefits of SPA membership except for travel expense benefits.

Benefits of Membership

EBRC SPA members and affiliates are eligible for a series of benefits including:

  • Attending EBRC annual meetings
  • Participation in EBRC SPA events such as industry site visits and workshops
  • Access to private sections of the EBRC website including the Resume Book
  • Application to the EBRC SPA Mentorship Program and EBRC Industry Internships

EBRC SPA members may be eligible for travel support to annual meetings as well.

Undergraduate students, research technicians, and other academic or non-profit lab members are not eligible for EBRC SPA membership, but may be nominated by an EBRC PI or EBRC SPA member to attend EBRC meetings with travel benefits. If nominated, they are eligible to attend EBRC SPA events at that annual meeting.


Any graduate student or postdoc doing work relevant to synthetic biology at a U.S. academic or non-profit, or international student or postdoc at an academic or non-profit institution is eligible to apply for membership.

Work relevant to synthetic biology includes laboratory work in synthetic biology, engineering biology, etc. as well as supporting fields such as microbiology, policy, computation, data science, communications, ethics, etc. where the given research may support the advancement of synthetic biology.

Goals and Application Process

The EBRC SPA seeks to enrich our community through the inclusion of individuals with diverse research backgrounds and a passion for synthetic biology. We encourage the advancement of synthetic biology through the inclusion of diverse perspectives from different fields of research, institutions, and researchers of diverse gender identities, racial and ethnic heritages, ages, and nationalities. To further these goals, membership applications should be freely available online, and include the following minimum criteria for the SPA Board to judge eligibility by:

  • Applicants will be asked to describe the relevance of their research to synthetic biology, and/or how their research could contribute new perspectives to the field.
  • Applicants will be asked to explain how they plan to engage in and contribute to the EBRC community.
  • Applicants will be asked to provide their institutional affiliation, supervisor’s name, and year of graduate study or postdoctoral fellowship
  • Diversity and demographic information
  • Contact information

New applications will be reviewed at regular intervals throughout the year by a designated committee of 3-5 SPA board members, who may accept applications for membership. For preliminary applicants that are not supported, the application must be brought to the entire SPA Board. If a quorum of three additional board members reject the applicant, they will be considered to be provisionally rejected. All provisional rejections will be sent to the EBRC Director along with justifications before final rejection of the applicant.

Duration of Membership

EBRC SPA Membership is valid as long as the individual member is still a graduate student and/or postdoc working on synthetic biology or supporting research. Once a student graduates (without continuing directly on to a relevant postdoctoral positions) or a postdoc leaves their position, they become EBRC SPA Alumni. Members will be contacted yearly to update relevant information (student vs. postdoctoral status, supervisor, institution, etc.) or to inform the SPA Board that they are now alumni. If EBRC SPA records show that an individual member has not engaged in the EBRC community for over 2 years, they will be removed from membership and placed on the alumni list.

SPA Leadership

The EBRC SPA is run by an elected board under the leadership of an SPA president. The board is currently comprised of 10-12 SPA members.

A new SPA board and president will be elected annually. Interested SPA members, including previous board members, may self-nominate for board positions. The position of president may only be held by previous SPA board members. General SPA membership votes for 10-12 board members and one president. Positions on the board (such as communications chair, social chair, industry chair, etc.) are all internally decided by the new board and are subject to change based on the needs of the EBRC SPA.

SPA News

  • March 4, 2019

    SPA Visit to Ginkgo Bioworks on March 22

    The SPA is hosting an Industry Site Visit to Ginkgo Bioworks on March 22 in association with the EBRC Retreat.

All SPA News →
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