Stem cells have the remarkable ability to become any one of the 200+ cell types found in adult humans. This course will examine both the underlying biology as well as the societal aspects of stem cell therapies. We 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 for use in research and medicine. At the same time, we will learn about the policies regulating their use in clinical settings.
We will explore how CRISPR, a genome-editing technique that won its founders the Nobel prize, has the potential to revolutionize regenerative medicine. While this advancement is powerful enough to change modern medicine as we know it, where should the boundaries be? We will address this question and more as we learn how researchers and physicians use innovative technologies to unlock stem cells’ seemingly unlimited potential. We will also address the hurdles currently being faced in the field and the cutting-edge research being conducted to advance stem cell technology.
Coursework will be composed of a variety of asynchronous elements including readings, videos, writing assignments, case studies, group discussion boards, and several short, recorded presentations. You will be encouraged to explore topics that they are personally interested in whenever feasible.
By the end of this course, you will:
• Understand the factors controlling cell specialization during development and tissue maintenance.
• Be able to critically evaluate the claims of advertised stem cell treatments to assess their validity.
• Understand how cutting-edge applications in genome editing and regenerative medicine are advancing the field.
This course covers a wide breadth of topics and allows for exploration of basic scientific research, medicine, and policy to help you identify what avenue of regenerative medicine interests you most.
Students best suited for this course will have a strong interest and background in biology and will have taken at least one high school biology course. Working knowledge of the central dogma, including gene expression is required. AP biology is very helpful but not necessary.
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.