Today was the first day of the course module that the instructors call “Practicals,” rapid one-day courses that guide the students through an essential set of skills for a specific topic within the scope of synthetic biology.
Each student section has 5 – 6 members who receive instruction from a professor and TA during the entire day. The next day, sections rotate onto a different practical. This occurs each day throughout the week. The lab space is divided up into mini-labs so that all practicals can occur simultaneously. It may sound a little complicated, but it is very effective and students love the breadth and depth of the learning experience.
This year, each practical covered the following topics:
Designing and using CRISPR – Chase Beisel (instructor), Scott Collins (TA)
Computational modeling – Howard Salis (instructor), Christian Cuba Samaniego (TA)
Cell-free synthetic biology with TX-TL – Vincent Noireaux (instructor), Ryan Marshall (TA)
Advanced DNA assembly – Lauren Woodruff (instructor), Nate Howitz (TA)