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assignment Level : Intermediate
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
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Key Information

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verified_user Fee-based Certificate
timer 10 hours in total

About the content

Synbio is a diverse field with diverse applications, and the different contexts (e.g., gain-of-function research, biofuels) raise different ethical and governance challenges. The objective of this course is to increase learners’ awareness and understanding of ethical and policy/governance issues that arise in the design, conduct and application of synthetic biology. The course will begin with a short history of recombinant DNA technology and how governance of that science developed and evolved, and progress through a series of areas of application of synbio. Content will be presented in many forms, including not only reading and lectures, but also recorded and live interviews and discussions with scientists, ethicists and policy makers. Learners will have the opportunity to think, write and talk about the issues and challenges in their own work and in real-life case examples. A final project will engage students in the development of governance models for synbio.

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Syllabus

  • Week 1 - Welcome to Engineering Life: SynBio, Bioethics & Public Policy
     
  • Week 1 - Recombinant DNA Technology: Science and History
    We start the course by learning a bit about the history and context of the development of recombinant DNA (rDNA) technology in the 1970s, the ethics and policy issues raised by that science, and how those issues remain with us today in synthetic biology. The w...
  • Week 2 - GOF Research
    In Week 2 we will learn about and discuss gain of function (GOF) research and the dual-use concerns raised by synthetic biology. The work of the week includes lecture videos, a number of outside videos, and readings. The assessment this week will be your first...
  • Week 3 - Biofuels
    This week, we’ll learn about biofuels, the complex task of balancing the many ethical issues they raise, and the role of synthetic biology in biofuels development. The work of the week includes lecture videos, one outside video, readings, and an interview with...
  • Week 4 - Human Health
    This week we will learn a bit about applications of synthetic biology to human health, and the ethics of human subjects research. The work of the week includes lecture videos, one outside video, and readings. The assessment this week will be your second peer-a...
  • Week 5 - Governance
    In the final week of the course, we will talk about both models of governance for emerging biotechnologies and the role of public engagement in the development and oversight of the science. The work of the week includes lecture videos, one outside video, and r...
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Instructors

Debra JH Mathews, PhD, MA
Assistant Director for Science Programs
Berman Institute of Bioethics

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Content Designer

Johns Hopkins University
The mission of The Johns Hopkins University is to educate its students and cultivate their capacity for life-long learning, to foster independent and original research, and to bring the benefits of discovery to the world.
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Platform

Coursera

Coursera is a digital company offering massive open online course founded by computer teachers Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller Stanford University, located in Mountain View, California. 

Coursera works with top universities and organizations to make some of their courses available online, and offers courses in many subjects, including: physics, engineering, humanities, medicine, biology, social sciences, mathematics, business, computer science, digital marketing, data science, and other subjects.

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fascinating course about genetics and disease. However, it's kind of a no-brainer to know that their unethical and ethical ways to use genetics. Lord knows some mad scientist is going to use this technology to create a new disease or some sort of Frankenstein to unleash upon the world.

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Published on February 24, 2018
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February 24, 2018
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fascinating course about genetics and disease. However, it's kind of a no-brainer to know that their unethical and ethical ways to use genetics. Lord knows some mad scientist is going to use this technology to create a new disease or some sort of Frankenstein to unleash upon the world.