This hands-on, laboratory-based course is designed to provide you with experience in basic laboratory research, along with topics and techniques currently used in molecular biology and medical research. You will learn about DNA, RNA, and proteins and apply this knowledge to laboratory techniques used in the field of molecular biology. You will manipulate DNA and express the Green Fluorescent Protein gene in bacteria and extract and observe both DNA and proteins. Studying DNA using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) and gel electrophoresis are integral techniques learned in the course. Other techniques of modern molecular biology will be explored, including the isolation of your own DNA and protein purification. Additionally, you will examine and discuss techniques used to identify disease-causing organisms, along with procedures used by pharmaceutical companies to produce therapeutic proteins and vaccines.
This course includes an academic project that you will work on over the two weeks and present on the final day to your peers. You will research applications of the learned laboratory techniques through your 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 you to see the techniques they have learned in action and meet world-class scientific researchers in the fields of molecular biology and synthetic biology.
By the end of this course, you will be able to:
• Understand how, using the Scientific Method, to conduct experiments and analyze scientific data
• Conduct common laboratory techniques that are used in biotechnology
• Practice laboratory safety
• Gain knowledge and practical skills that will enable you to work efficiently in your future advanced biology courses; these skills could be used to pursue internships and undergraduate lab opportunities
Middle school or high school coursework (including some experience with laboratory work) in biology or life science.
Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.