Biology 618

Biotechnology, Bioinformatics and Bioethics

Course Coordinator: Leta M. Tribble, Ph.D. (864) 943-4170;

Course Description

This course focuses on three key areas of 21st century science education: biotechnology, bioinformatics, and bioethics. The course is designed to introduce teachers to each of these areas through didactic instruction, the use of clinical case studies, laboratory, and computer activities.

  • Lab work includes techniques and analysis of results in cytogenetics, molecular genetics, and biochemical genetics.
  • Computer activities include the use of National Centers for Biotechnology Information databases, University of California at Santa Cruz Genome Browser, and the Protein Data Bank.
  • Ethical, legal, and social implications
  • In the bioethics portion of the course, attendees will be asked to identify the key questions in specific scenarios and to support their positions in the cases.


This graded course carries 3 graduate credit hours which may be applied to teacher re-certification or to a graduate program for South Carolina teachers. Out-of-state teachers must satisfy out-of-state fees to receive graduate hours.


The course is five days (approximately 40 hours) and includes didactic instruction, lab activities, and group discussions.

Course Objectives

  • To recognize the historical perspective of each instructional area
  • To demonstrate aptitude in laboratory skills, computer skills and test analyses
  • To integrate technology with human conditions and to assess bioethical concerns
  • To translate course experiences to the classroom in order to promote student literacy and interest in the life sciences


  • Laboratory safety
  • What is biotechnology? Why is it important and what is its association to healthcare?
  • Historical perspectives of bioinformatics
  • Copy number variants and human variation
  • Exploring bioethics


Major emphasis is on lab activities. Teachers attending this course will meet the requirement of having to complete a specific activity before scheduling that same activity for his/her students on a mobile lab visit during the school year. There are 12 lab modules developed for the Genetic Education Center and this course will use four of the 12.


Assessments and evaluations will utilize post-activity questions, participant interviews, surveys, and observations of laboratory techniques. Teachers will complete daily and end-of-course evaluations. Evaluations will be used to make any needed course improvements. Each teacher will be required to use one course activity in the classroom during the school year, providing the GGC with their students' evaluations of the activity.


Registrations are invited from science faculty who instruct at the high school and undergraduate levels. The level of instruction assumes the applicants have some biology and genetics training. The graduate course credits will be given through Lander University, Department of Biological Sciences. Class size is limited to 25 participants.

One Mother's Story

One Mother's Story

After a long three-year struggle trying to have children, our son, Charlie, was born on April 18, 2009. He was our miracle...perfect in every way! When Charlie was five days old, our pediatrician called to notify us that one of the numbers from the heel prick test was a bit high. We headed to the hospital that afternoon for more tests. I will never forget the following day. It was cool and crisp - not a cloud in the sky....

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