Genetically Engineered

Genetic Engineering and Genetically Modified Organisms

Dates: July 14th-25th

Cost: $1200

In the past few decades, our understanding of molecular biology and genetics has enabled us to transform food production and to drastically increase access to human therapies and, in the near future, it may help us mitigate the looming energy crisis. This course will explore the ways in which genetically modified organisms (GMOs) have already impacted our society, examine their potential to confront the challenges that lie ahead, and delve into the biological details of what GMOs are and how they are made.

After conquering the molecular details, we will read a variety of current events articles and learn to intelligently discuss heated topics in the popular media about genetic engineering and genetically modified organisms. In the lab, students will perform all the molecular biology techniques needed to create a genetically modified organism, including creating recombinant DNA molecules and transforming bacterial cells. This will not be done through demonstrations at the front of the room -- you will be the ones with the gloves and lab glasses on!


Liz Specht

Liz grew up on the East Coast, receiving her undergraduate degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Seeking a change of scenery and a new experience, she moved to San Diego in 2009 to pursue her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at University of California, San Diego. Liz will be graduating in the spring and road tripping up to Alaska for the summer before continuing her postdoctoral research, and she is thrilled to be working with ASRA this summer!

Liz is fascinated by living things, and she is inspired by the potential to harness biological ingenuity to solve urgent global problems. She has been passionate about research since her first lab experience in college, studying the effect of proteins on the growth of hard materials like bone and teeth. Liz also had the opportunity to spend seven months in India testing urban drinking water for bacterial contamination and conducting epidemiological surveys among local residents, fueling her growing interest in global health. At UC San Diego, she studies genetically engineered algae as a platform for producing human and animal therapeutics, such as antibodies, hormones, or even vaccines, which could drastically reduce the cost of many current medical treatments.


Carri Forbes

Carri has been a science teacher with the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District for six years. She has a B.S. in Fisheries Science and a M.Ed. in Secondary Education. She worked with the Kanuti National Wildlife Refuge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Marine Science conducting field research in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Carri has been an avid divemaster for almost six years diving in Alaska, the U.S. and abroad. 

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