Biology 614

Contemporary Topics in Genetics: A Hands-On Approach

Course Coordinator: Leta M. Tribble, Ph.D. (864) 943-4170;

Course Description

This course examines current topics in the field of human and medical genetics. Instruction by genetic professionals will provide accurate representation of these topics and serve to clarify much of the public media's information.

The course includes didactic instruction, but primary emphasis is on break-out sessions, allowing for small group interactions and hands-on activities appropriate for classroom use.


This graded course carries 3 graduate credit hours which may be applied to teacher re-certification or to a graduate program for South Carolina teachers. Out-of-state teachers must satisfy out-of-state fees to receive graduate hours.


The course is five days (approximately 40 hours) and includes didactic instruction, lab activities, and group discussions.

Course Objectives

This course will:

  • Provide accurate analyses of current and often controversial topics in genetics
  • Involve students in discovery and hands-on activities
  • Illustrate the role of genetics in human disease and disorders
  • Provide new activities for classroom incorporation including an innovative approach to introducing the scientific method
  • Offer opportunities to discuss the ethical and social implications of genetics on society


  • Stem cells: debate and promise
  • Proteomics
  • New therapies and the question of expense: medical ethics
  • Dog genetics: models for human disease
  • Beyond the medical condition
  • How do we find genes?
  • Break-out sessions, allowing for small group interactions and hands-on activities for classroom use.
    Sessions will highlight:
    • Genetic Counseling
    • Cytogenetics
    • Molecular genetics
    • Metabolic genetics
    • Genetic disease and the process of discovery

Special Topic Seminar and Dinner

Evening dinner with GGC faculty followed by special topic seminar.


Contemporary Topics in Genetics is a graded, graduate level course requiring:

  • Attendance for all 5 days of instruction, approximately 40 hours
  • Participation in all break-out sessions and activities
  • Completion of any assigned reading
  • Participation in group discussions
  • Selection of 1-2 course topics and a description of how these could be included in current curriculum, identifying South Carolina Science Standards in the content


Registrations are welcomed from science faculty who instruct at the high school and undergraduate levels. The level of instruction assumes the applicants have some biology and genetics training. The graduate course credits will be given through Lander University, Department of Biological Sciences. Class size is limited to 25 participants.

Meet Makayla Gunn

Meet Makayla Gunn

Makayla was diagnosed with Rett Syndrome in April of 2015 at the age of two.   At about 18 months, we noticed she had started some repetitive hand motions, and her pediatrician was a little concerned that she did not have many words.  She had learned some sign language, and was saying ‘mama’ and ‘dada’, but that was it.  Then she suddenly stopped all of that.  At her 2 year old check-up, the pediatrician referred us to BabyNet, ...

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