NEUROBIOLOGY AND METAGENOMICS – HYBRID

Hybrid 10-week program: January 10th, 2023 – March 16th, 2023

This 10-weeks hybrid course that meets twice per week – once virtually, and once in-person (lab), introduces students to neurobiology and metagenomics research and gene expression regulation of female and male fruit flies exposed to environmental stressors relevant to pollution and climate change. Such stressors (exposure to polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and heat)) can induce physiological changes in organisms, altering lifespan, immunity, and metabolism. These alterations that shape environmental responses can span across generations and persist after the stress is removed. Stress-induced gene regulation changes may be temporal / physiologic or heritable / permanent. The head-specific responses of such stressors are of a particular interest, as the metabolic load of the organ can be indicative of a stress response.  As females and males have notable variations in their sensitivities to stressors, the sex-specific phenotypic differences will be quantified and compared. Sex-specific mechanisms of gene expression and metagenomic whole-body composition, which may influence how individuals and populations cope with environmental stress will be quantified and analyzed. Mechanisms of gene expression in fly heads and metagenomic composition of fly bodies will be analyzed for the evidence of how individuals and populations cope with environmental stress.

This course will incorporate multiple research methods, such as nucleic acid extractions, shallow RNA sequencing, nanopore metagenomics sequencing, and behavioral assays. Students will work in small teams in the lab to discuss theoretical concepts and primary scientific literature, design experiments, perform research, analyze the data, and prepare scientific report. The course will conclude with a formal science seminar during which the students will present their work in person to a selected audience.

Course is available for 4 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: TBD

INTRODUCTION TO BIOINFORMATICS – ONLINE

Online 10-week program: January 9th, 2023 – March 15th, 2023

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: Statistics preferred but not required.

Academic Schedule: 

  • Mondays and Wednesdays (4:30pm – 6:30pm PST)
  • Synchronous online teaching
  • 4 hours of work required outside of online lecture

This is a 10-weeks 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.