NextGen Biotechnology & Genomics
This course provides detailed insight on a limited number of emerging technologies. It will provide an opportunity for students to understand the relationship between scientific discovery and application. It will also allow students to identify specific areas of interest that they might want to pursue in their academic and professional careers. The course makes extensive use of the cross-disciplinary approach (integrating science, business, economics and social science) that characterizes the Master of Business & Science degree.
This course has 5 modules, each focused on a particular technology (DNA sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics, imaging, nanotechnology, synthetic biology (for example -these will change each year). The course brings in experts from industry and academia to discuss the scientific foundations of each technology and its applications. Students will work in teams of ~5 on one of the module subjects to develop a project that will be framed by the instructor (e.g. develop a genomics-based approach to identify non-responders to a drug; develop and design a scale-up plant for algal-based biofuels). These projects will take into account scientific, economic, market, business and social factors.
Scientific Content: This course focuses on the development and application of new technologies in biotechnology and genomics. These are the technologies that are underpinning new developments in biotechnology, genomics, pharma, preventative and restorative medicine as well as technologies focused on the sustainable and renewable use of natural resources.
An Applications-Based Approach: Technologies are introduced and will be discussed in terms of how they address a particular problem in biotechnology and genomics R&D (Basic and Applied). For example: the problem of de novo genome assembly from short reads vs. genome resequencing; the problem of dynamic range in various transcriptomics approaches; the use of whole genome mutant collections to define drug targets; defining reliable expression markers for tumor responsiveness to treatment; defining disease genes from whole genome association studies; genome-wide approaches to perturb gene function, and so on. Five examples will be studied in detail and will serve as the basis of an in-depth examination of: the science behind the technology; the development, application and commercialization of the technology; the economics and market forces guiding its application; the regulatory environment and IP concerns; getting the product to market; the role of first and late adopters; the life cycle of products and markets.
Technology Deployment: Students will develop an appreciation of the direction and likely projection of these technologies. Since these are fast-moving fields, technologies quickly become redundant. It is critical for students wishing to enter into the biotech and genomic workforce to develop a keen sense of when it is appropriate, feasible and economical to deploy new or emerging technologies and when exisiting technolgies are ready to be replaced. Students will develop an appreciation of the limiting factors (funds, trained staff, a savvy management) that can limit the use of the technologies in their early stages, as well as an understanding of other factors that can lead to their demise or make their use trivial (technology life-cycles, loss of IP protection, the emergence of novel, unrelated technologies, outsourcing, miniaturization of equipment, digitization of information).
Team Learning and Projects: The course is taught as a series of 5 free-standing modules, each focusing on a specific technology or application, how it was developed and is applied functions and how it can be used to advance research and development. In each module, students are provided with the scientific background appropriate for that technology, along with an understanding of the products or applications that resulted. Each module is presented by an expert in the field, and these will be drawn from industry, academia, and Government agencies. This format provides students with a highly targeted introduction to each subject.
Project Presentations: At the completion of the course, students are expected to present a poster summarizing their projects. The poster presentation is open to all students. A panel of distinguished industry professionals are invited to help judge. Please see the events listing for dates and times.