Course Detail
Course Components:
This intensive, 2-week, 2-credit elective course is designed to introduce advanced medical and graduate students to issues that will be relevant to research and practice in an era of molecular medicine. Emerging therapies based on genetic abnormalities are promising, but also frequently controversial. The course will begin with early efforts at gene therapy and attendant ethical considerations. It will cover contemporary methods for gene manipulation and recent clinical experience with genetic therapies. Human germline modification will be covered, as will current efforts at regulation and societal issues, including justice and access. Because of its relevance to human health, uses of genetic manipulation in food organisms will also be discussed. Relevant readings, largely from the primary literature, will be assigned for each session. In the first week, class time will consist of presentations by the faculty, discussions of the lecture material and the assigned readings, and broader discussion of issues raised by these exposures. In the second week, student presentations will replace a portion of the lecture time, the extent depending on the number of students enrolled. The student presentations will be on literature-based topics chosen by the students themselves in consultation with the faculty. The written assignments can take a number of forms, from thoughtful reviews of specific technical and/or ethical topics, to drafting of an opinion piece for submission to a newspaper, to a creative writing project for submission to Rubor.