Biotechnology & Laboratory Science

BTNL 1110 – Introduction to Biotechnology & Laboratory Science

4 credits | Prerequisites: BIOL 1104, or High School Biology within last three years, or High School Biotechnology, or premission of instructor

An exploration into the fascinating world of modern DNA science and laboratory analysis. The course will provide a lecture and hands-on participation in the application of modern DNA science and laboratory analysis to forensics, medicine, the environment, food science, agriculture and the arts.

A background in basic biotechnology and laboratory science will lead to the performance and practice of advanced techniques including analysis of human genes, identification of genetic elements in commercial foods containing genetically modified organisms (GMOs), transformation of an organism with a new DNA element, using antibodies in identification of a foreign protein or organism. Students will perform techniques involved in modern forensic analysis such as restriction analysis and PCR which are often used on crime scene samples. Students will learn how to read and understand the new molecular genetic data often found in patient diagnoses of cancer and genetic diseases. The breakdown of oil by bacteria will be performed, a technique that is often used to clean the environment in oil spills.

BTNL 1120 – Biotechnology & Laboratory Science of Microorganisms

4 credits | Prerequisites: BTNL 1110 and BIOL 2210

This course explores many fascinating areas of genetic engineering and DNA science. Sterile laboratory technique, the preparation of different types of culture media, transformation, conjugation and transduction of bacteria will be studied and practiced. Bacteria, bacteriophages, yeast, multicellular fungi and nematodes will be cultured. Many molecular biotechnology techniques will be performed on microorganisms or using microorganism products. Restriction sites on plasmid DNA and Lambda virus DNA will be mapped. Bacteria will be transformed to make Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP); the Green Fluorescent Protein will be purified and analyzed. Epigenetics and RNA interference will be studied and RNA interference will be examined in the laboratory. The course examines and practices safe handling procedures for chemicals, equipment and living organisms, especially microorganisms, and the use of personal protective equipment. Regulations of different governmental and advisory agencies will be studied.

BTNL 2210 – Biotechnology & Laboratory Science of Agriculture & Aquaculture

4 credits | Prerequisite: BTNL 1110 or BIOL 1101

This course studies and performs many of the fascinating technological applications of biotechnology to agriculture and aquaculture. The origin of the word, biotechnology in 1917 from the writings of Karl Ereky (1878–1952) in the context of agriculture and food science will be examined and the history of biotechnology and laboratory science as they relate to agriculture will be reviewed.

The course will discuss the use of recombinant DNA technology to produce genetically engineered plants and animals. Recombinant DNA technology will be applied to transfer genes into plants using Agrobacterium tumefaciens. PCR will be used to test for and identify the presence of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in grocery store products. Genetic use restriction technology (GURT) will be evaluated.

Biotechnology is used to identify and verify strains and pedigrees. A plant variant will be identified using molecular biological methods.

The mammalian immune system will be studied. There will be an examination of the application of principles of immunology to the production of vaccines, medical and veterinary tests and quality control tests for food purity; a diagnostic immunoblot will be constructed and used. The production of monoclonal antibodies for pharmaceuticals will be investigated.

Plant and animal tissue culture will be studied and performed.

The purity of agricultural products will be analyzed using Visible Spectrophotometry, UV Spectrophotometry and NIR Spectrometry.

BTNL 2220 – Advanced Biotechnology & Laboratory Science

4 credits | Prerequisites: BTNL 1110, BIOL 2210, CHEM 1120 and CHEM 1151

An in-depth look into the application and business of modern biotechnology and laboratory science. Advanced Biotechnology will include an overview of fermentation processes, and identification of different types of bioreactors with an explanation of the use of each type. Useful products will be made with a bioreactor. The products made in the bioreactor will be purified and tested for impurities and contaminants using gas chromatography, NIR spectrometry, UV spectrophotometry and other methods. A research project to sequence a novel genetic segment will be developed. Bioinformatics will be used to investigate sequences in general, and sequences related to the research project. Electrophoretic properties of native proteins will be investigated. Model organisms such as Caenorhabditis elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, Zebrafish and Arabidopsis sp. will be cultured.

An important part of this course will be the development of biotechnology and laboratory science equipment and processes from common every day materials to be used by schools and other individuals in the United States and in developing nations.

BTNL 2225 – Historical, Ethical, Legal, Social & Economic Issues of Biotechnology & Laboratory Science

2–4 credits | Prerequisite: BTNL 1110

An examination into the ethical, legal, social and economic issues raised by the modern world of DNA science. This course will study the history of: scientific investigation, the discovery of DNA, the discovery of the structure of DNA, biotechnology and laboratory science. The course will analyze the ethical issues related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), cloning, scientific research, eugenics, experimentation on humans, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, prenatal testing, general genetic testing, animal care, medical treatment and other issues. Legal issues will be studied and include patents, copyrights and the application of genetic use restriction technology (GURT). Economic issues associated with the stock market and patents will be examined. Biotechnology and laboratory science plays an important role in popular culture. Books, movies and television shows based on laboratory science and biotechnology will be reviewed.

Career skills and workplace ethics will be discussed. Students will prepare a resume and examine opportunities for employment.

A trip to Europe to visit sites associated with the discovery of the structure of DNA and other important related places will be an option. Visits to the University of London - Kings College where X-ray crystallographic images of DNA were made by Rosalind Franklin, the Cambridge area and The Eagle Pub where the announcement of the discovery of DNA structure was made, and many important sites associated with molecular biology and the history of science in general will be an option.