When it comes to genetic engineering, there are two central questions: “What are the possibilities?” “What are the consequences?”
Genetic engineering will soon allow researchers to quickly curate the natural world, whether they are trying to swap one gene for another, resurrect the woolly mammoth, or manipulate the genetics of an entire species. In this course, work with fellow students in a laboratory, sampling and extracting live DNA, running experiments such as PCR amplification, and learning how to alter the proteins in a string of cells to make them glow. Debate the ethics of genetic manipulation — with its goal to change organisms’ genetic makeup for the better — looking at the work happening today and how that will be shaping the future. Explore applications of stem cell research, use of gene therapies, and the power of the genome-editing technology CRISPR. From eradicating disease and eliminating food shortages to biological warfare and genetically engineered “perfect” humans, we’ll explore how applications of genetic engineering and synthetic biology are rapidly changing the map of our collective political, ethical, and biological future.
Students are required to bring long pants and close-toed shoes in order to participate in the laboratory components of the course.
Optional: EXPLO offers a variety of special sessions that focus on different subtopics like biomedical ethics and designer DNA. To further your exploration of genetic engineering, you may sign up for these sessions once you are at the program.
You’re both fascinated and terrified by the applications of stem cell research. You’ve followed CRISPR science with intense fascination and love to debate the endless possibilities — and as-yet-unknown consequences — of genetic modification, cloning, gene editing, and biological warfare. Gear up to get hands-on: this course is for students who want to gain hands-on lab experience, hone their techniques, and get expert career advice from industry researchers.
Prepare and dilute solutions, use specialized equipment, learn practical safety techniques, and interpret experimental results.
Latest Research + Ethics in Bioengineering
Review scientific journal articles and debate the morality of emergent technologies like gene therapy and the possibility of a future with “designer babies.”
Career opportunities are exploding in the field of genetic engineering, where highly trained experts use molecular tools and technologies to rearrange fragments of DNA. We’ll investigate what’s needed to join this growing career field.
Molecular Genetic Lab Manipulations
Isolate and analyze DNA samples, analyze microarrays, prepare agarose gel trays for electrophoresis, and more.
Dan is a research scientist at Amgen, one of the world’s leading biotechnology companies, working to develop pharmaceuticals to prevent and treat serious illness and disease. His work is focused on using emerging technologies like iPSC-derived tissues, organ-on-chip platforms and human genetics. He discovered a new molecular mechanism of neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease and attributes his initial interest in science to his 10th grade biology teacher who sparked a lifelong curiosity that continues to drive his work today.
Dr. John Grant is the Director of Business Development at Intellia Therapeutics, Inc., a leading genome editing company with a mission to develop curative gene techniques for severe and life threatening diseases. Based in Cambridge, the company combines scientific expertise with clinical development experience and a leading intellectual property portfolio. Prior to joining Intellia, Grant enjoyed a productive career in pharmaceuticals and consulting after earning his PhD in molecular biology.
Dr. Janina M. Jeff is a Human Geneticist and the first African American to graduate with a PhD
in Human Genetics from Vanderbilt University. She is currently a Senior Scientist at Illumina, a biotech company that creates genetic technology for companies such as Ancestry.com and 23 & Me. She is an expert in statistical design and interpretation of large-scale genomic data as well as content design scientist for genotyping arrays. Dr. Jeff has taught a breadth of undergraduate and graduate courses in biology, genetics, and statistics. In addition to her professional and community work, Dr. Jeff was recently selected as one of three winners (of 18,000) from Spotify’s Sound-Up Bootcamp for her podcast, “In Those Genes”, which uses genetics to uncover the lost identities of African Americans.
Andrew Hessel is the CEO of Humane Genomics Inc., a seed-stage company developing virus-based therapies for cancer, starting with dogs. He is a co-founder of the Genome Project-write, the international scientific effort working to engineer large genomes, including the human genome. From 2012-2017 Andrew was the Distinguished Researcher at Autodesk Life Sciences. He has been Singularity University faculty since 2009. His goal is to help people better understand and use living systems to meet the needs of society.
Dr. Floyd Romesberg is a professor of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute, where he has worked for the last 20 years. His research utilizes a multidisciplinary approach using physics, synthetic chemistry, microbiology, and genetics to study varying elements of evolution. Romesberg is also the co-founder of Achaogen Inc. and RQx, Inc., two companies working to develop new antibiotics, as well as the founder of Synthorx, Inc., a new synthetic biology company.
Dr. Steve Long FRS holds the Stanley O. Ikenberry University Endowed Chair of Plant Biology and Crop Sciences, at the University of Illinois. He is also the Distinguished Professor of Crop Sciences at Lancaster University, UK and a visiting professor and fellow at Oxford University. His photosynthesis research made the front page of the New York Times and was one of the 12 Scientific Moments of 2016. He is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Plant Biology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as, a Fellow of the Royal Society.
Professor Daniel G. Anderson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, and the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Science and Technology at MIT and a leading researcher in the field of nanotherapeutics and biomaterials. His research has contributed to products that have been commercialized or are in clinical development, as well as to the foundation of companies in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and consumer products.
Dr. Lisa Kanizay is a Reproductive Biology Scientist at Bayer Crop Sciences working on improving traditional plant breeding and efficiency incorporating gene editing and transgenics into their breeding pipeline. Dr. Kanizay received her PhD in plant biology from the University of Georgia where she studied mechanisms of chromosome segregation in maize using a variety of fixed and live cell fluorescent imaging.
Courses are just one part of your day at EXPLO. Workshops, clubs and societies, trips into town with your friends… We pack a ton into a single day — imagine what you can do in three weeks.
Choose from 40+ trip options each weekend.
Culture. Entertainment. Adventure.
Live, learn, and become lifelong friends
with students from six continents.
At EXPLO, we give you the tools to tackle it head on — from college to career to a life of purpose and meaning.