There's a lot of controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells, but did you know that there are many types of stem cells in the body and that some are already being used to treat diseases? In this course, you'll learn about what stem cells are, what they do, and their importance to research and medicine. You’ll even learn how to culture mammalian cells. Discover how stems cells allow a single fertilized egg to develop into a complex human being, how they are used by doctors to help restore the immune system of cancer patients, and how technological advances are helping scientists harness the power of stem cells to learn about and treat disease.
Stem cells have the remarkable ability to become any one of the 200+ cell types found in humans. This course will explore what makes stem cells unique, how they function normally in the body to create and maintain specialized organs and how they are being used in regenerative medicine. We will cover the basic cell, molecular and developmental biological principles required to understand exactly what these incredible cells are.
We will examine what stem cells do in different organ systems, how they keep us healthy, and how they can be harvested and manipulated to become different types of cells, which can be used in research and medicine. We will also learn about the phenomenal new discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells. In iPS cells, scientists can reprogram adult cell types to become stem cells outside of the body by adding a specific set of genes. We will learn how researchers and physicians are using innovative technologies to unlock stem cells’ potential to treat a variety of human diseases and injuries such as blindness, diabetes, heart disease, and sports injuries.
To complement classroom lectures, discussions, and activities, this course will have a daily laboratory component. Students will learn the basic skills required for mammalian tissue culture. We will grow different types of cells, use biochemical techniques to alter their cellular identities, and use fluorescent microscopy along with other visualization methods to observe these changes.
Upon completion of this course, students will extend their knowledge from general high school biology to include an introduction to the more specialized areas of cell, molecular and developmental biology, which will be helpful when taking college courses. They will also acquire basic molecular biological laboratory skills. This will not only allow them a deeper understanding of stem cells, but it will help them distinguish between what stem cells can and cannot do in a medical context. Students will also be exposed to current applications of stem cell technology and new innovations that they will see develop in the near future.
Prerequisites: Completion of a high school biology course is required.
Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.Visit Program Page Learn How to Apply