In this project-based laboratory course students will learn to appreciate the power of using the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, a free-living (non-parasitic) microscopic nematode (roundworm) to address real-world biological questions. Students will learn about the anatomy, development, life cycle and reproduction in C. elegans by performing a genetic cross accompanied by readings from the WormBook (online review of nematode biology). Students will become proficient in basic light and fluorescent microscopy, in addition to performing techniques such as polymerase chan reaction (PCR), gel electrophoresis, DNA plasmid purification, restriction digests and detection of protein levels via western blot analysis. Moreover, students will gain an in depth understanding of the central dogma of molecular biology in the context of RNA interference (RNAi), a molecular mechanism to inhibit gene function. In small groups, students will design, conduct, and analyze an RNAi experiment and present these findings to the class during the final presentation. This will allow students to utilize a genetic model organism to study evolutionarily conserved cellular processes relevant to humans.
Prerequisites: One year of biology (in junior high or high school) is helpful, but is not required.
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.Visit Program Page Information Sessions Learn How to Apply