Upper school students at Cape Cod Academy (CCA) are partnering with the University of Chicago's Marine Biological Laboratories in Woods Hole this week for a special discovery program. This three-day program is teaching students in grades 10-12 about CRISPR/Cas9 Genome editing of aquatic and marine organisms.
CCA students are learning how the revolutionary genome editing technology CRISPR/Cas9 works and applying it in the lab to explore basic biological questions as well as the implications it has for improving human health. Genome editing is being used to understand zebrafish development, a key biomedical research species. The students are manipulating development genes to understand embryogenesis and organ formation and their connection to understanding human health and birth defects. The course is exposing students to modern methods in microscopy and enhancing their lab skills by familiarizing them with how to conduct embryo injections, stain different systems, and use technology to make 3D images of their results. The course will wrap up with a discussion on the ethical implications of genome editing.
"After over a year of adhering to COVID-19 protocols in our classrooms and science labs, it's an incredible experiential opportunity for our students to get out into an active laboratory and work alongside scientists in our own backyard. Our students are able to hone their lab skills and begin thinking about what fields of science they may be interested in pursuing in the future," said faculty chaperone, Abby Wood.
This is a residential program where students are staying in the dormitories on campus in Woods Hole with a faculty chaperone. "It's made us excited for our college experience in a couple of years," the students agreed. "We are getting a glimpse into what it's like to live on a college campus even though we are close to home."