Funding, Grants & Awards

Delaware Tech CC Lands $1 Million to Develop Gene Editing Curriculum

Community college students in Delaware will soon have the opportunity to learn about gene editing thanks to a $1 million advanced technological education grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Awarded jointly to the Delaware Technical Community College and the Gene Editing Institute of Christiana Care's Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Research Institute, the grant is designed to support the development of a gene editing curriculum for students in community colleges.

John McDowell, biology and biotechnology teacher at Delaware Tech, and Eric Kmiec, director of the Gene Editing Institute, are lead investigators on the grant.

"The partnership between the Gene Editing Institute and Delaware Tech is an exciting opportunity to combine the talents of the research laboratory headed by Dr. Kmiec with the teaching expertise of instructors at Delaware Tech," said Mark T. Brainard, president at Delaware Tech, in a prepared statement. "Through the network of schools that participate in our workshops, we will be able to disseminate emerging techniques in gene editing."

McDowell and Kmiec plan to develop a curriculum that focuses on yeast genetics, mammalian tissue culture, sequence analysis and bioinformatics tools with a special focus on ethics.

"In Delaware, the majority of the bioscience majors continue their education at the University of Delaware before entering the workforce," McDowell said in a prepared statement. "Learning mammalian tissue culture and gene editing techniques at the undergraduate level at Delaware Tech will position students who go on to study bioscience at UD to be more competitive for academic advancement and ultimately for employment upon graduation."

The team also plans to use the award to develop effective methods to teach college instructors how to best teach gene editing in their own classrooms.

"Initially, we piloted the curriculum and the experimental exercise with community college instructors from around the country, as well as some student groups," said Kmiec in a news release. "The feedback and results have been overwhelmingly positive, and we have numerous requests already to share the developed curriculum across the country."

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is contributing editor for Campus Technology, THE Journal and STEAM Universe. He can be reached at jbolkan@gmail.com.

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