Characterizing C. elegans Using Reverse Genetics

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
June 28, 2021 - August 11, 20216/28 - 8/116 WeeksOnlineWaitlistedOnlineAnita Kumar
Joslyn Mills-Bonal

Course Description

This is a Course-based Research Experience (CRE) class that will provide students with the chance to propose, design, and conduct their own research projects, working on topics and seeking answers to questions that are currently unknown to science.

Scientists have been studying cause and effect for centuries. Performing experiments helps us determine the answers to basic questions like "What happens if I water plants with salt water?" to more complicated questions like "Will drug A treat cancer better than drug B?" In this course, we will be asking the question "What happens to the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans if we alter a particular gene?"

This virtual lab course will provide students the opportunity to develop their own hypothesis-driven research question with a focus on genetics and molecular biology, performing research that no one knows the answer to yet. Reverse genetics is a useful tool that starts with mutating or deleting a gene to see what it does to the physical characteristics, or phenotype, of the animal.

Using gene silencing (RNAi) in C. elegans, students will work in groups to study the function of different genes and how they affect the phenotype of the animal. Students will direct scientists in the lab to conduct experiments, and then analyze the data and present their conclusions. This approach allows us to gather clues to what the function of a gene is, and we can further determine if this gene would be a potential target to design therapeutics to treat diseases.

At the end of the course, students will have:

  • Designed and directed implementation of experiments to answer their research question
  • Collected data from laboratory investigations, accurately recording observations in a professional-style notebook, and critically analyzing experimental results
  • Reported their scientific findings.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI0914

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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