Such approaches oftentimes rely on bacteria because their genomes are smaller and more easily manipulated than those of eukaryotes. Moreover, nonpathogenic bacteria can be easily, rapidly and cheaply grown into densely populated cultures. Therefore, the availability of microbial biomaterial can allow relatively untrained student researchers to pursue many different types of synthetic biology-based goals. One important area of synthetic biology that is increasingly accessible to student researchers is the engineering of genetic regulatory circuits and networks. It is now possible to design or discover new genetic regulatory components, which are similar to but distinct from natural counterparts and which can be used to control expression of targeted genes. Moreover, these targeted genes can, if desired, include reporter genes, whose output can be easily quantified (e.g., fluorescence, luciferase). When configured correctly, the combination of these genetic components can collaborate to create analytical tools called biosensors, biomolecules that couple detection of a specific chemical analyte to an output signal that can be quantified.
First-Year Spring Semester Course:
FIRE172 - FIRE COURSE 2: Engineering Biosensors
(3 credits, General Education Distributive Studies, Natural Sciences)
Second-Year Fall Semester Course:
FIRE272 - FIRE COURSE 3: Engineering Biosensors
(3 credits, General Education Scholarship in Practice)