Biomarkers: How can we democratize health?

Course Description

A biomarker is an objective measure, an indicator of normal biological as well as pathogenic processes. In addition, biomarkers can measure responses to an intervention, including therapeutic interventions, facilitating research to advance clinical management of still untreatable diseases. Finally, biomarkers can be used as targets for novel therapies. Once developed, biomarkers are fast, easy, and cheap to measure, yet informative and reliable. Biomarkers also allow us to identify individual differences among patients so that they can be treated more effectively with ad hoc therapeutic approaches while reducing side effects, a promise to personalized medicine.

Through storytelling and the exploration of innovative diagnostics methods, including omics technologies and machine learning, we will discuss what different types of biomarkers exist, how new biomarkers are discovered and validated, and how biomarkers in the clinic shape the concept of personalized medicine.

The course will provide aspiring medical doctors, researchers, and entrepreneurs with an understanding of how an urgent medical need can mobilize cross-disciplinary research and development to deliver future treatment options. The course will also provide you with a perspective of the many opportunities a scientific background provides for pursuing a personal career and contribute to improving global health.

During the course, you will be encouraged to think critically to identify an urgent medical need, how to solve it by mobilizing resources and developing creative solutions.

You will be invited to identify and discuss relevant scientific articles. Discussing the literature will help you develop project ideas you are passionate about and to present your idea to the instructor and peers. You will work in small groups and take on specific responsibilities and tasks.

By the end of this course, you will
• Develop a critical understanding of biomedical information
• Learn to combine different interests into one new idea
• Learn about basic methods to diagnose diseases, concepts of clinical trials, ethics
• Understand the impact a career in science can have on society
• Understand that cooperation can solve complex problems faster
• Increase your own curiosity about science beyond laboratory activities
• Better understand the feasibility of a career in the scientific world
• Think creatively about how to solve a problem through innovation and collaboration

This course illustrates how in today’s society, cultivating multiple interests is not only possible but also promotes creativity and innovative ideas. It allows aspiring medical students and scientists to better navigate future studies, through the understanding of the importance of developing skills that allow them to look at the whole picture.


High School Biology


One Section Available to Choose From:

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.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - July 01, 2022
Duration: 1 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 8:30A-11:20A
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Maria Grazia Ruocco
Course Number: 10422