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The Genomics Leadership Initiative at Juniata College

 

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Summer 2013

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The Genomics Leadership Initiative at Juniata College has been funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and National Science Foundation.  The initiative seeks to achieve its goal by developing a genomics certificate program, a leadership module, and student summer research experiences.

GENOMICS CERTIFICATE PROGRAM:

Comprised of seven courses, the genomics certificate addresses both the science and the broader ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) surrounding progress and discoveries in the field of genomics.  The ethical, legal and social issues surrounding advances in genomics provides a strong focus for practicing a breadth of knowledge and skills; the understanding of the scientific foundation of genomics provides the focus for developing an interdisciplinary base and cross disciplinary understanding of the life sciences in an era of “big data”. To help support this part of the program the grant has also funded an ELSI faculty development workshop, a seminar series, stipends for faculty developing new or revised classes, and stipends for faculty to formally assess the learning gains of students as a result of programmatic activities.

What is a certificate?

In general, an undergraduate certificate provides an interdisciplinary curriculum that is not available within any single academic unit.  A certificate offers the possibility of a more cohesive general education experience oriented around a theme and taught by faculty who work together as a group on an ongoing basis and have common inter-departmental learning objectives and assessments.  The awarding of the certificate is noted on the student’s transcript.  

Who is this certificate for?

Students intending to pursue careers in biological research and medicine are the primary target.  However, students interested in careers in public policy, public health, law, and business will gain by developing similar competencies.

Why should a student get this certificate?

As cost of a human genome approaches $1000, appreciation of both the science and the ethical, legal, and societal implications of genomics has become an increasingly pressing issue.  Design of the certificate was based on recommendations from a joint document between the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) entitled, “Scientific Foundations for Future Physicians.”   This report emphasized the importance of integrative scientific approaches, scientific reasoning, intellectual curiosity, communication and decision making skills, adaptability, ethical principles, and understanding of patients as individuals and in a social context.  HHMI has funded Juniata College to implement this certificate program.

Description and Goals of a Certificate in Genomics, Ethics, and Society

Comprised of seven courses, the certificate addresses both the science and the broader ethical, legal and social implications (ELSI) surrounding progress and discoveries in the field of genomics.  No area of modern biology provides a more appropriate focus for combining the humanities and sciences than the ethical, social and legal implications (ELSI) of the human genome project and the evolution of the field of personalized medicine.  The subject cannot be completely addressed without the input of specialists working across disciplinary boundaries.  The ethical, legal and social issues surrounding advances in genomics provide a strong focus for practicing a breadth of knowledge and skills while understanding the acts of judgment and social contexts involved in the development and application of scientific knowledge; the understanding of the scientific foundation of genomics provides the focus for developing an interdisciplinary base and cross disciplinary understanding of the life sciences in an era of “big data”. 

Learning objectives

Students who attain genomics certification will be able to:

REQUIREMENTS

Core Courses: All students pursuing a genomics certificate must take four core courses required for a genomics certificate. Download the Genome Certificate Sheet to organize and plan your course of sudy.

1) Genomics, Ethics and Society (IC 203; Fall; MW 2-3:50PM; CWS prereq) A team-taught course that lays the foundations for interdisciplinary work on the ethical and social dimensions of genomics:.

2) A course covering basic molecular biology, genetics, and genomics:

3) At least three credits of statistics:

4) One course covering informatics and analysis of large data sets:

Electives: In addition to the core courses, students must take at least three elective courses related to ELSI genomic themes:

  1. Social History of Medicine History HS 211; Every Fall; May count as a either a CA, or an H or I division class. T/TH 1 to 2:20PM
  2. Medieval Medicine: Health and Disease in the Middle Ages History HS 399, Every Spring. H division class. MW 11AM to 12:20PM
  3. Doctors, Medicine and Russian Literature Russian RU 299, Spring of even numbered years.  May count as a either a  CA, or an H or I division class. T/TH 1 to 2:50PM
  4. Science and Human Values Philosophy PL 250, Spring of odd numbered years, H division class.
  5. Moral Judgment Psychology 3XX, Every Summer online, S division class.
  6. Leadership in the 21rst Century. Business EB 299, Odd Springs online (3 cr), S division class

    AND  Executive Leadership Business 199, 1 cr, Spring, 3PM, Weds.

Management Plan

Students must submit a notice of intent to complete the certificate to Prof. Vince Buonaccorsi before senior year.  The certificate may be approved by Vince Buonaccorsi, Jill Keeney, Jay Hosler, Jim Roney, or Loren Rhodes (the certificate advisory board). Courses other than those listed above may also apply if approved by this group. Download the Genome Certificate Sheet to organize and plan your course of study.

Funded Programs for Research in Biology at Juniata

The National Science Foundation has awarded Juniata College a $445,039 grant to fund a series of faculty development workshops to be held at Juniata College and other college and university campuses on genomics education over the next five years.

The HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) has awarded $1 miilion in support of Juniata’s Genomics Leadership Initiative (GLI), to prepare leaders in science, medicine and society.

GCAT-SEEK is a group of educators who seek to incorporate new, massively-parallel sequencing technologies into the undergraduate curriculum to provide students with a hands-on opportunity to apply these revolutionary cutting-edge tools to investigate biological questions. (gcat-seek.org)

NSF S-STEM scholarship program: The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Juniata College a "Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math" (S-STEM) grant to provide community/two year college transfer students with scholarships of up to $10,000 per year for the two years needed to complete a B. S. degree.

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