BIODIVERSITY AND MOLECULAR GENETICS RESEARCH IMMERSION PROGRAM – HYBRID

Hybrid 10-week program: September 27th, 2022 – December 1st, 2022

Which genetic differences underline awesome diversity of animals? What is genetically shared and what is unique among evolutionary distant animals? How closely related are you to them?  In this research-immersion course you will explore and analyze various organisms to better understand and appreciate biodiversity on anatomical, morphological, and genetic levels, tracing back animals’ evolutionary connections.  You will apply evolutionary and molecular biology concepts, extract DNA from multiple species (sea urchins, abalone, worms, insects, fish, and yourself …), sequence genes critical for metabolism and adaptation, calculate mutation rates, and infer evolutionary distance between animals. This course is a mix of evolutionary biology, standard and advanced molecular biology / gene sequencing techniques, and bioinformatics analysis. Part of the course complements the ongoing research project in partnership with National Park Service, which utilizes environmental DNA (eDNA) methodology to better understand the adaptive mechanisms and responses to environmental stressors of Southern California endangered black abalone population. During the in-person course meeting, students will work in small teams in the lab to discuss concepts and primary scientific literature, design experiments, perform research, analyze the data, and prepare a scientific report. The course will conclude with the formal science seminar during which students will present their research in-person to a selected audience.

Course is available for 3 pre-college units.

Course Delivery: Hybrid (online + in-person)

Grade Level: Students must currently be in 10th–12th grade

Schedule: Tuesdays and Thursdays

Tuesdays (4:30pm – 6:30pm PST); Synchronous online teaching
Thursdays (4:30pm – 6:30pm PST); In-person class meeting at the lab (San Diego Science Center. See location below)
4-6 hours of work required outside of lecture

Scholarship Opportunities: Click here (Application Deadline: 3pm PST on September 2nd, 2022. Students will be notified of their status by September 9th.)

BIOSTATISTICS AND BIOINFORMATICS – ONLINE

Online 10-week program: September 27th, 2022 – December 1st, 2022

This course utilizes several environmental science case studies / data sets to introduce students to experimental design, descriptive statistics, biostatistics fundamentals, management of a large gene expression data set, multivariate analysis, and basics bioinformatics concepts and databases.  Data sets are derived from peer-reviewed published literature focused on air pollution. Concepts covered during the first part of the course cover experimental design, biological and technical replicates and statistical power, central limit theorem and Bayes rules / theorem, 1-way Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and pairwise comparison t-test.  Second part of the course focuses on differential gene expression workflow, data normalization, ANOVA and Mixed-model Analysis of Variance (MANOVA), principal component analysis (PCA), and introduction to Bioinformatics databases (GenBank, UCSC genome browser, David Bioinformatics, STRING) utilizing DNA sequence alignments, gene finding, and differential gene expression analysis. Most of the data during the course will be analyzed using “R”.

Course is available for 4 pre-college units.

Course Delivery: Online

Grade Level: Students must currently be in 10th–12th grade

Prerequisites: High School AP Biology, Pre-Calculus.  Statistics preferred but not required.

Academic Schedule: 

  • Tuesdays and Thursdays (4:00pm – 6:00pm PST)
  • Synchronous online teaching
  • 4 hours of work required outside of online lecture

INTRODUCTION TO BIOINFORMATICS – ONLINE

Online 10-week program: September 27th, 2022 – December 1st, 2022

This course introduces the theory and practical applications of bioinformatics to genes and proteins.  The lecture/computer lab format is structured on bioinformatics primary scientific literature and utility of custom data sets emphasizing recent developments and analytical applications in genomics and proteomics. Course topics, supplemented by relevant biostatistical concepts and applications, include: genomic and biomolecular bioinformatics resources and databases, advances in sequencing technologies, genome and structural informatics, phylogenetics and transcriptomics. Computational tools (using R programming language) and applications promoting best analytical practices will be emphasized.

Course is available for 4 pre-college units.

Course Delivery: Online

Grade Level: Students must currently be in 10th–12th grade

Prerequisites: High School AP Biology, Pre-Calculus.  Statistics preferred but not required.

Academic Schedule: 

  • Mondays and Wednesdays (4:00pm – 6:00pm PST)
  • Synchronous online teaching
  • 4 hours of work required outside of online lecture

This is a synchronous online course, meeting twice weekly for 1h lecture and 2 hours of computer lab. Attendance is mandatory to successfully complete the course. All lecture and lab sessions will be recorded and made available asynchronously for review.

Course Requirements / Eligibility:

There is no textbook for this course. A familiarity with basic biological concepts is essential. No formal programming training or advanced mathematical skills are required. Students must have their own computers to access class material and utilize free bioinformatics software and data resources.  All course materials (lectures, computer labs, videos, science manuscript .pdf files and data sets, etc.) will be accessible via Canvas course website.  Students will also present a pre-approved bioinformatics topic of their choice during the last week of the course.