The goal of this course is to provide students with the broad understanding of pivotal topics in the field of genetics and genomics. A background in concepts and methods will be provided and followed by critical analyses of the reading and primary literature utilizing interactive discussions. This course gives the graduate students in the Genetics & Genomics Initiative program direct and engaged contact with all the major areas of research at the forefront of this field while providing an appreciation for where the field has been and what the big ideas are for the future.
- Summarize & critically review pivotal papers and research in the field of genetics and genomics
- Demonstrate understanding of the material through participation and leading of active discussions
- Synthesize the breadth of topics covered and propose the next big research questions in the field
This course will meet 4-days per week (M, T, W, TH) for 75 minutes. This course is Team Taught by the GGA faculty and coordinated closely by Dr. Martha Burford Reiskind. The course is broken up into 2 to 3 week sections or modules, an example is below.
All modules will include interactive discussions and synthesis
- Module 1: GG Scholars course orientation & critical thinking skill development: This module builds the student’s understanding of the knowledge base underpinning the field of genetics and genomics by exploring seminal papers, important technological advances and the variety of approaches to hypothesis testing. While expanding understanding of the field, students learn the critical skills for reading and reviewing the literature.
- Module 2: Population genetics & genomics: This module focuses on fundamental aspects of research in molecular evolution, from a population genetics perspective. This module uses the primary literature and assignments that help related patterns in population genetic data to inferences about how populations evolve.
- Module 3: Molecular Genetics: This module explores the epigenome and the current state of research in epigenomics and gene regulation at the molecular, cellular and population scales. This module uses the primary literature, both review articles and experimental investigations and discussion of the important open question in the field.
- Module 4: Genetic advances in evolution & development: This module introduces students to the history, goals, and questions in the field of Evolution & Development (EvoDevo). Students apply this knowledge to critically read and review the EvoDevo literature and case studies through interactive discussions.
- Module 5: Concept and application of gene drive: In this module students synthesize across the topics introduced in previous modules and introduce the students to the exciting biology and evolution of natural, selfish genetic elements that inspired development of synthetic gene drive systems. Students assess the strengths and weaknesses of various gene drives for addressing specific problems.
- Module 6: Synthesis and Group Projects: This module explores and integrate the concepts and methodologies learned in earlier modules, and apply them to topical research. This module challenges students to propose the next big ideas, technologies, and experiments in the field. Students conduct group projects, based on ideas and questions that emerged from earlier discussion during the course.