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Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of genetics! Why study genes? Gene experts examine the differences in genes to learn about family relationships, trace ancestors, solve crimes, and track which genes are involved in illnesses. This course serves to introduce students to the modern breakthroughs of genetics. Topics discussed will include inheritance, the cell cycle, evolution, immunology, microbiology, and reproduction. Autumn Becker, our lead instructor, holds her Masters degree from Columbia Teachers College. Last year, Autumn and our students visited the Center for Human Genetics in Cambridge, and we have big plans for this year!

The cell cycle will be introduced in the context of cancer, including discussion of targeted therapy and cancer immunology. The effects of radiation on the cell cycle will be explored in lab. Students will test the protective effects of sunscreen or fabrics on yeast exposed UV light to examine the effects of UV light.

The study of microbiology will include introduction to the gut microbiota and antibiotic resistance. Our teens will further investigate topics in the lab with bacteria culturing and identification via gram staining.

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This is a competitive admissions summer research program designed for teens.

Students do research in the Human Genetics three-week program

Date: June 22nd – July 10th
Bentley / Gann – Waltham, MA

Evolution will be referenced through an introduction to the history of human beings and their ancestors as well as the tracing of ancestry via genetics and hereditary traits, specifically the Y-chromosome (Y-DNA) and mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroups.

Students throughout the course will participate in a final Genetics Counselor Project, which will require extensive study of a genetic disorder of their choice. A visit from a genetics counselor will facilitate student learning through contextualization. This project culminates in a symposium, in which students present their projects in front of the class and then answer questions about the genetic disorder they researched.

Autumn Becker

Autumn Becker (far right) currently teaches at The Chapin School, a prestigious all girls high school in Manhattan. Ms. Becker holds a Masters in Curriculum and Teaching from the Teachers College at Columbia University. She has previously taught at Sharon High School in Sharon, Massachusetts, and she has earned rave reviews from our students as the lead instructor of Human Genetics.

Autumn Becker poses with students

Student Comments

“I really liked the program! Autumn taught us really well and let us do a ton of experiments, which made it really fun. Also, I liked this program a lot because genetics is really interesting to me and Autumn taught us a lot!”

“We learned a lot about how genetics is used in several different fields and subjects, as well as got hands-on experience in labs! Autumn taught us lots of info in a very short time, making our projects and course engaging and fun!”

“The genetics field trip we took was very informative and we got to see a lot of things we couldn’t have had the opportunity to see elsewhere.”

“Autumn was a really great teacher and very patient. She really explained genetics concepts in a way that I could understand. She made learning and education fun for all of us.”

“I loved the program and Autumn. I learned sooo much information in a three week span. As a result I have formed in depth understandings of various topics that will ultimately help me achieve my goals in school and enhance my occupational abilities.”

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