DNA Science and Biotechnology

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Course Description

Are you curious as to what it is like to be in a laboratory, working to solve problems in the medical field? Have you wondered how scientists work to provide breakthrough products and technologies to improve our environment? This course will immerse you in the laboratory as you learn the basics of biotechnology and gain experience conducting advanced laboratory techniques. Researchers in the field of molecular biology work to understand biomolecular and cellular processes and use that knowledge to develop technologies and products that help improve our lives, our society, and our planet.

Students will learn about DNA, RNA, and proteins and apply this knowledge to laboratory techniques used in the field of Molecular Biology. Students will manipulate DNA and express the Green Fluorescent Protein gene (normally found in the Pacific jellyfish) in bacteria and extract and observe both DNA and proteins using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and electrophoresis. Other techniques of modern molecular biology will be explored, including the isolation of students’ own DNA and protein purification. Additionally students will examine and discuss techniques used to identify disease causing organisms, along with procedures used by pharmaceutical companies use to produce therapeutic proteins and vaccines. Students will also learn about the emerging technologies used in synthetic biology.

Students will research applications of the learned laboratory techniques through an independent culminating research project and have the opportunity to design and develop experiments to test a hypothesis or address a real-world problem. Field trips to several research laboratories and biotechnology companies will be part of this course, enabling students to see the techniques they have learned in action and meet world-class scientific researchers in the fields of molecular biology and synthetic biology. Students will gain knowledge and practical skills that will enable them to work efficiently in their future advanced biology courses; these skills could be used to pursue internships and undergraduate lab opportunities.

Prerequisites: Middle school or high school coursework (including some experience with laboratory work) in biology or life science.


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI0609
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

STEM for Rising 9th and 10th Graders

Two-week, non-credit residential program focused on STEM subjects and taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 8-9 by June 2020; minimum age of 14 and maximum age of 15 by the start of the program.

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