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Course description and requirements

CRISPR/Cas and genome editing as a whole is a quickly emerging technology which is becoming increasingly indispensable to most research labs around the world. This two-week course will focus on the theoretical and practical application of genome editing to bacteria. It will also explore the larger implications of this emerging technology to more complex organisms such as plants, animals and humans, as well as its implications in biotechnology, agriculture and medicine.

The morning portion of the course will focus on developing an understanding of the theory behind genome editing. These sessions will take the form of lectures as well as evolving dialogue between the learners and the instructor. The goal of these discussions is to take the learner from what they currently know and help put it into the context of genome editing and build the larger model of understanding. The group will then split into small workgroups to design the day’s experimental protocol as a group. The focus will be on experimental design and critical thinking during this period.

The afternoon portion will be a wet-lab in which the learners will take the protocol they designed in the morning session and carry forth the experiments. In the first week, molecular cloning of a CRISPR-targeting plasmid will be covered and genome editing in bacteria in the second week.

As a model experiment, the student will utilize general molecular cloning techniques to engineer a plasmid expressing the CRISPR/Cas9 nuclease as well as a single guide RNA (sgRNA) targeting a bacterial gene. The plasmid will be used to modify E. coli to no longer utilize lactose as a carbon-source.

Upon successful completion of all course components, including the final assessment, students will receive a certificate of completion.

Intended Learning Objectives

  1. Have a working knowledge of aseptic technique with regards to bacterial handling.

  2. Understand the theoretical principles involved in molecular cloning and genome editing.

  3. Be able to map and execute a simple cloning protocol for the insertion of a short oligonucleotide into a larger plasmid fragment.

  4. Synthesizing a cloning protocol for an unfamiliar experiment.

  5. Be able to design and evaluate the success or failure of experiments.

  6. Identify sources of error using appropriate experimental controls.

  7. Have a practical knowledge of how to edit the genome of a simple bacteria and scale this up to work with more complex eukaryotes such as plants and animals.



  1. Introductory microbiology laboratory from a post-secondary institution.

  2. Completion of the Michener Institute’s online Biosafety and WHIMIS training prior to the start of the course.
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