Concordia University

Alumna Julie Legault (BFA'08) Publishes her first book

Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero - The Beginner's Guide to Programming Bacteria

Julie Legault

The world's first beginner's guide to genetic engineering is here! Alumna Julie Legault  (BFA'08) first book Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero: The Beginner’s Guide to Programming Bacteria at home, school & in the makerspace guides new learners on a journey of real-world, hands-on genetic engineering experiments which teach the first principles of biology and cell functions along the way. Upon completion of the book, learners have a strong understanding of genetic engineering and can engage in the field in a responsible and meaningful way.

Typically, meaningful genetic engineering education is limited to university classrooms. To reach beyond these walls, Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero leverages leading-edge education techniques to make the content relevant, engaging and accessible to non-experts aged 12 and up. 

Experiential, personalized and 'just-in-time' learning are a few of the techniques that allow Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero to be the most cutting-edge and accessible technical book about genetic engineering book written.  

Written explicitly for secondary school education and at-home learning,  Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero is seven chapters of DNA and bacteria-based activities, virtual simulations, pro-tips, and more than 130 color illustrations. Teenagers, aged 12-14, even participated in the editing of the book to ensure its relevance accessibility to the non-expert.  This book replaces the need for an expert teacher with university training and enables a new generation of self-education of genetic engineering. 

Authors Bio:

Zero to Genetic Engineering Hero Author Julie Legault is a graduate of Concordia’s Design and Computation Arts Dept,, the Royal College of Art and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Media Lab and is an expert in transforming complex technology into experiences for non-experts. Justin Pahara is a graduate from the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology at the University of Cambridge and has more than a decade of experience in synthetic biology and genetic engineering.

Julie Legault is a designer-entrepreneur from Montreal, Canada. Since her early access to computing in the 80s (thanks to a pioneering mother), she has been passionate about understanding and translating complex technologies through design. 

During her career, she participated in design residencies worldwide, taught at Birmingham’s Institute of Art and Design, the V&A,  the Royal College of Art, and worked with multi-nationals, pop stars like Rihanna and design firms to develop accessible smart materials, wearables and interactive art.

Her unexpected foray into DNA technology inspired her so thoroughly that finding an accessible entry point in the complex science became the focus of her MIT Media Lab graduate thesis. It led her to found Amino Labs, a company pioneering accessible biotechnology for children and non-scientists.  Julie is a proud fellow of the Coaching Fellowship program for Extraordinary Young Women Leaders of Impact.

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