Synthetic Biology and its Applications, Short Course | University of Tartu | Tartu, Estonia
Short On Campus

Synthetic Biology and its Applications

11 days
600 EUR/full
600 EUR/full
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The summer course focuses on synthetic biology, providing students hands-on experience in molecular cloning, genetic engineering, and laboratory work involving yeast modification for carotene and violacein production. Students will gain molecular biology lab skills and safety knowledge and create art using engineered yeast cells.


On-site in Tartu 28 July – 7 August 2024

The goal of the summer school is to provide an overview of synthetic biology advances and their applications. Students will get hands-on experience in molecular cloning and genetic engineering, visit University of Tartu research centers.

Laboratory work will focus on genetically modifying yeast to produce carotenes and violacein, extracting them from yeast cells, and analyzing the results via HPLC and TLC. 

Carotenes and violaceins are colorful chemical compounds and have a wide range of applications. For example, carotenes are used in cosmetics and the food industry; and violaceins possess antimicrobial and antitumor properties that have great potential in medicine. Students will learn how society could utilize synthetic biology to decrease the production price and reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact compared to conventional production methods. 

Students will learn how to work in the molecular biology lab, safety rules, how to operate laboratory equipment (e.g., PCR machines, centrifuges, vortexes, thermostats, etc.). Students will also create artworks using yeast cells that synthesize carotenes and violaceins.

Programme Structure

  • Introduction to summer school
  • Lecture: How synthetic biology is changing the world 
  • Introduction to safety rules and laboratory techniques 
  • PCR amplification of Modules’ parts (promoters, genes, terminators, degrons), Gel electrophoresis, Golden Gate assembly, bacterial transformation 
  • Lecture: Bioproduction of valuable compounds: benefits and potential risks 
  • Plasmid extraction from bacterial cells, DNA restriction analysis  
  • Sequencing  
  • Analysis of sequencing results 
  • PCR amplification of Modules
  • Lecture: The basics of homologous recombination and its application in synthetic biology 
  • Yeast transformation 
  • Preparing yeast cells for production of carotenes and violacein  
  • Extraction of carotenes and violaceins from yeast cells 
  • Lecture: HPLC and TLC methods: benefits, restrictions, applications 
  • TLC analysis of the extracted carotenes and violaceins. 
  • Artistic work: make a drawing on the Petri dish using colourful yeast cells 
  • Analysis of the HPLC results 


High school students, BSc


  • Ilona Faustova, Associate Professor in Molecular Biology, Programme Director of Science & Technology and Bioengineering programmes
  • Artemi Maljavin, PhD student
  • Kristina Reinmets, Research Fellow in Synthetic Biology
  • Amedeo Pagliotto, Junior Research Fellow in Technology
  • Science & Technology students

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 11 days

Start dates & application deadlines






On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any specific GRE, GMAT or GPA grading score requirements for this programme.

English requirements

We are not aware of any English requirements for this programme.

Student insurance

Make sure to cover your health, travel, and stay while studying abroad. Even global coverages can miss important items, so make sure your student insurance ticks all the following:

  • Additional medical costs (i.e. dental)
  • Repatriation, if something happens to you or your family
  • Liability
  • Home contents and baggage
  • Accidents
  • Legal aid

We partnered with Aon to provide you with the best affordable student insurance, for a carefree experience away from home.

Get your student insurance now

Starting from €0.53/day, free cancellation any time.

Remember, countries and universities may have specific insurance requirements. To learn more about how student insurance work at University of Tartu and/or in Estonia, please visit Student Insurance Portal.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • High school students, BSc
  • Online application form
  • Application fee of 25 EUR
  • Motivation letter (up to 1 page) that demonstrates the applicant’s motivation to participate, his/her expectations about the programme, how participation in the summer programme relates to his/her studies and interests, and how the applicant plans to use the gained experience and knowledge in the future
  • Transcript of academic records
  • Copy of passport

Tuition Fee

To always see correct tuition fees
  • International

    600 EUR/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 600 EUR for the full programme during 11 days.
  • EU/EEA

    600 EUR/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 600 EUR for the full programme during 11 days.

Living costs for Tartu

300 - 600 EUR /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


1. Estonian National Scholarships at 

You can read more about the scholarships on the homepage of

2. ENLIGHT scholarship 

More information and the application form are on the ENLIGHT scholarship page: 

3. DAAD scholarship 

More information and application form on the DAAD scholarship page:

4. Partial tuition fee coverage scholarship

More information and the application form for the partial tuition fee coverage are on the scholarship page:

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