Discover the Intriguing World of Genome Engineering

Are you fascinated by the role genetics play in disease? Have you ever wondered how your DNA works to create your genetic makeup? This course allows you to delve into genome engineering and how the human genome can be edited to treat diseases, such as Sickle Cell and other hereditary blood disorders. Study the ethics surrounding genome editing and compare the various design tools utilized, especially as applied in the medical field. If you see yourself pursuing this topic in college, or one day in a career, this course is a great place to start.

Program Dates

Multi-length courses available throughout the year

Eligibility

For students ages 13 and up

Fees

$1195

Start Your Journey Into Genome Engineering

Learn the Basic Principles of Molecular Biology

Begin to understand DNA and RNA as biomolecules, and describe genetic variations in the human genome. Start to differentiate normal variations from those that can cause disease. Using Sickle Cell as an example, you will discover how changes in a single nucleotide (mutation) can lead to this diagnosis. You will also be able to describe how sequences of DNA are converted into proteins and how abnormal proteins can lead to disease.

Understand the Basics of Genome Editing

Build your knowledge on the essentials of genome editing and why doctors may choose to use it versus medication for certain diseases. You will learn the three major classes of engineered nucleases, and understand how the CRISPR/Cas9 system works. You will also discover the tools for quantifying small insertions and deletions in DNA.

Delve into the Therapeutic Applications of Genome Engineering

Explore how genome editing is applied to Sickle Cell Disease. We will review the symptoms, potential consequences, and treatment strategies. Study clinical trials that use genome editing and learn how this can create a lasting improvement. Finally, imagine you’re a doctor, and explain to a Sickle Cell patient the benefits and potential risks of using genome editing to treat the disease.

Study the Challenges and Ethical Issues of Genome Engineering

Understand what genome engineering can and can’t do. We’ll consider safety concerns around the stem cell removal process and potential damages to remaining stem cells, contamination that can pose risks to stem cell removal, and ethical issues associated with genome editing. Using the example of CRISPR babies, we’ll look at cost, access, skills, and facilities needed to make genome engineering more efficient and safer.

Review the Major Opportunities of Genome Engineering

Gain a better understanding of the broad scope of uses for genome engineering. Moving beyond its use in medicine, we will discuss different methods in modifying genomes, and how gene editing is used to improve plants and animals for food. We will also discuss how genome engineering can help create new energy and a cleaner environment.

Explore Potential Careers in Genome Engineering

Topics in this course offer a solid background related to a future in medicine. Learn how genetic engineering is important in fields, including engineering, medical research, genetic counseling, data science, and diagnostics.

How You Will Benefit

  • Learn the basics of the human genome and the genetic causes of disease.
  • Be able to describe how scientists can specifically modify a genome.
  • Gain knowledge of genome-engineering tools.
  • Be able to interpret gene-editing consequences.
  • Understand the ethical issues in using genome editing in treating human conditions.
  • Gain access to mentors who will answer your questions and help brainstorm assignments.
  • Earn a Certificate of Completion from Rice University.

Three Learning Advantages Designed for You

Capstone Project

This course culminates in a special capstone project that allows you to: 

  • Define beta-thalassemia, a hereditary blood disorder that is caused by mutation of a beta-globin gene.
  • Understand the mutations that cause beta-thalassemia.
  • Identify a CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing based strategy for treating beta-thalassemia. 
  • Create a 1-2 minute video describing how to reduce the production of the beta-chain of hemoglobin.

Mentoring

You’ll receive guidance from a mentor who can support you and deepen your learning experience. You can expect:

  • Encouragement and direction on all assignments. 
  • Inspiration, motivation, and confidence to help you excel in your studies. 
  • Brainstorming and ideation to help you prepare for your capstone project.

Flexible Learning

  • 100% online learning that works with your schedule.
  • Flexible format: you’ll learn through video lectures that allow you to tune in anytime that works for you.
  • 20 to 30 hours of total instruction and course work, including engaging multimedia, simulations, and curated assignments for which you will receive guidance and support from mentors.

Apply Now for the Next Available Course

December 18 - January 1

Genome Engineering: Changing the Future of Medicine

Length: 2 weeks

Cost: $1195

Application Deadline: Saturday, December 10, 2022

March 5 - April 2

Genome Engineering: Changing the Future of Medicine

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: $1195

Application Deadline: Saturday, February 25, 2023

March 19 - April 2

Genome Engineering: Changing the Future of Medicine

Length: 2 weeks

Cost: $1195

Application Deadline: Saturday, March 11, 2023

All course options have the same educational content, learning materials, and number of assignments. We are offering a condensed version of the course in order to accommodate students’ individual schedules.

Dr. Gang Bao

Course Designed by Rice University Faculty

Dr. Gang Bao

Dr. Bao is the Department Chair and Foyt Family Professor in the Department of Bioengineering, Rice University. He is also a CPRIT Senior Scholar in Cancer Research and the Director of Nanomedicine Center for Nucleoprotein Machines at Rice. Dr. Bao received his undergraduate and Master’s degrees from Shandong University in China, and his Ph.D. from Lehigh University in the US. Dr. Bao is a Fellow of the American Association of Advancement in Science (AAAS), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Physical Society (APS), American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).

How to Apply

It’s easy. No transcripts or letters of recommendation are needed. Our application requires basic contact information for you and your parent or guardian. Then, tell us why you wish to take this course. Include your personal story through writing, video, photos—or any medium you prefer.

Begin the guided process. It should take only a few minutes to answer the questions.

Want to Know More?

Sign up for more information and we’ll be in touch.

Admissions

Our application process is easy. You can expect a prompt decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will you be graded? What are assignments like? How much time do you have to turn around a project? When do you find out if you’re admitted? Find answers to your questions here.

Scholarships

We offer need-based scholarships in each cohort to students exhibiting high potential and an inability to pay full tuition. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship but you:

  • Haven’t applied to the program, complete your application now. The scholarship application is included.
  • Applied to the program and didn’t fill out a scholarship request, reach out to us at support@precollege.rice.edu for assistance.
  • Are unsure about whether or not you applied for a scholarship, reach out to us at support@precollege.rice.edu for assistance.