Written primarily for mid-to-upper level undergraduates, this primer will introduce students to topics at the forefront of the subject that are being applied to probe biological problems, or to address the most pressing issues facing society. These topics will include those that form the cornerstone of contemporary research, helping students to make the transition to active researcher. This primer introduces the challenges and opportunities of applying synthetic biological techniques to mammalian cells, tissues, and organisms. It covers the special features that make engineering mammalian systems different from engineering bacteria, fungi, and plants, and provides an overview of current techniques. A variety of cutting-edge examples illustrate the different purposes of mammalian synthetic biology, including pure biomedical research, drug production, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine.