Pre-College Programs
SPARK - Science for Middle School

« Return to Course Catalog

DNA Science and Biotechnology - Senior SPARK

This course is expected to run but has not yet been scheduled.

Course Description

The field of Modern Biotechnology explores breakthrough technology that has revolutionized pharmaceutical, agricultural, and biomedical research. Scientific researchers in DNA Science work to understand diseases, develop treatments and cures, and to address concerns with the environment and our food supply. This laboratory-based course is designed to expose students to the techniques used in Biotechnology, along with topics currently examined in biomedical research and genetics.

Students will extract, observe, and analyze DNA from bacteria, plants, and animals using basic techniques including restriction enzyme analysis, PCR (polymerase chain reaction), and gel electrophoresis. Other techniques of modern molecular biology will be explored, including the isolation of students’ own DNA and protein purification and analysis using SDS-PAGE. Students will manipulate and transform bacterial DNA to express the Green Fluorescent Protein gene (normally found in the Pacific jellyfish) as well as test foods for genetic modification. Additionally, students will examine and discuss techniques used to identify disease causing organisms, along with procedures used by pharmaceutical companies to produce therapeutic proteins. Field trips to several world-class research laboratories will also be part of this course, enabling students to see the techniques they have learned in action as well as explore the legal and ethical implications of Modern Biotechnology.

*This Senior SPARK course is designed for students currently in 8th grade (entering 9th grade Fall 2015). Younger students are encouraged to register for our Junior SPARK courses.