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Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology and Genomics

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  • Objectives
    The Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology and Genomics is designed to provide students with broad-based knowledge of theories, quantitative methods and applications of biotechnology and bioinformatics that are pertinent to genomic analyses. A parallel goal of the program is to provide in-depth knowledge on the following topics: functional genomics; microbial biotechnology; production of proteins of value to the pharmaceutical, agri-food and forestry industries; and the development of genomic methods for industrial and environmental applications. Hands-on experience is a major component of the training provided by the Diploma Program. Students are trained to operate the state-of-the-art equipment and methods used in genomic and biotechnology research, and in bioinformatics analysis.
  • Academic Title
    Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology and Genomics
  • Course description
    Core courses (21 credits):

        BIOL 510 (3 credits) Bioinformatics
        BIOL 511 (3 credits) Structural Genomics
        BIOL 512 (3 credits) Functional Genomics
        PHIL 530 (3 credits) Ethical, Legal and Social Implications of Biotechnology
        BIOL 515 (3 credits) Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory
        BIOL 516 (6 credits) Project in Biotechnology and Genomics

    Elective courses (9 credits):


        BIOL 521 (3 credits) Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology
        BIOL 523 (3 credits) Agriculture and Agri-Food Biotechnology
        BIOL 524 (3 credits) High-throughput Instrumentation
        CHEM 678 (3 credits) Protein Engineering and Design
        CHEM 690A (3 credits) Experimental Protein Chemistry

    Course descriptions

    BIOL 510 Bioinformatics (3 credits)

    Prerequisite: BIOL 367 (Molecular Biology) or equivalent; COMP 228 (System Hardware) or permission of the Diploma Program Director. This course provides the tools for life scientists to interpret and analyze biological sequence data. It provides a general overview of the growth in availability of genetic information. The course covers: the genetic databases; the rapidly-increasing number of genome databases, including the human genome database; the sequence homology search engines and search algorithms; software for the identification of structural sequence components; and the determination of evolutionary relationships between sequences.

    BIOL 511 Structural Genomics (3 credits)

    Prerequisite: BIOL 367 (Molecular Biology) or permission of the Diploma Program Director. This course provides an overview of genome analysis including: cloning systems; sequencing strategies; methods of detecting genes; and approaches to mapping genomes. It covers the theory and design of the different approaches, and the analysis of genomic data generated from them.

    BIOL 512 Functional Genomics (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: BIOL 367 (Molecular Biology) or permission of the Diploma Program Director. This course focuses on the functional analysis of expressed genes and their products. Course content includes: the construction and screening of normalized cDNA libraries; analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs); functional analysis by gene knock-outs: localization of gene products by gene knock-ins; transcription profiling; systematic identification of proteins; and functional analysis of proteins by detection of protein-protein interactions.

    PHIL 530 Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications of Biotechnology (3 credits)

    Prerequisite: BIOL 367 (Molecular Biology) or permission of the Diploma Program Director. This developments in biotechnology, genomics, and bioinformatics. Students explore current debates about biotechnologies in the fields of agricultural biotechnology, global development, and environmental risk interdisciplinary course examines some of the ethical, legal, and social implications of recent. Issues such as commercialization and intellectual property, the role of media and public perceptions of biotechnologies, and social responsibility and policy formation are also addressed.

    BIOL 515 Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: BIOL 368 (Genetics and Cell Biology Laboratory) or permission of the Diploma Program Director. This is a hands-on course utilizing techniques in biotechnology and genomics that allows students to apply some of the theoretical knowledge gained in the courses during the first term of the Graduate Diploma in Biotechnology & Genomics Program. Experiments conducted in this course include: transcription profiling using DNA microarrays, real-time quantitative RT-PCR, genome-wide phenotypic screening and proteomics (2D gels and mass spectrometry).

    BIOL 516 Project in Biotechnology and Genomics (6 credits)
    Prerequisite: BIOL 468 (Gene Structure); BIOL 368 (Genetics and Cell Biology Laboratory); or permission of the Diploma Program Director. Each student conducts a project under the supervision of a faculty member at Concordia or other research institutions affiliated with the program. The project topic requires approval by the course coordinator. The project can be taken over an 8-month (10 hours per week) or a 4-month period (20 hours per week) at Concordia or other approved institutions or companies. The project will be chosen from one or more of the following fields: biotechnology, genomics, bioinformatics, and high-throughput experimentation. The nature of the project can be research, development, or application. A student who is working full-time or part-time can pursue the project in his/her place of employment subject to approval. (Approval will only be given to projects which are clearly demonstrated to be independent of the regular work requirement.) At the end of the project, the student is required to submit a report on the results of the project and present the results publicly in the form of a scientific poster or a short talk at a scheduled Genomics/Biotechnology Research Day.

    BIOL 521 Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: BIOL 511 (Structural Genomics); BIOL 512 (Functional Genomics). This course provides an in-depth evaluation of current biotechnology tools used in pharmaceutical and forestry industries, and in environmental remediation. New technologies and genomic approaches that can be applied to these processes are also discussed.

    BIOL 523 Agriculture and Agri-Food Biotechnology (3 credits)

    Prerequisite: BIOL 511 (Structural Genomics); BIOL 512 (Functional Genomics). This course provides an overview on the use of biotechnology in agriculture and in the agri-food industry. Plant genomics and genetic manipulation of plants are emphasized. Also discussed are biotechnology methods used in reducing agricultural pollutants and converting agricultural surplus to energy.

    BIOL 524 High-throughput Instrumentation (3 credits)

    Prerequisite: BIOL 515 (Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory). This is a hands-on introduction to high-throughput instruments used in biotechnology and genomics. Students are exposed to the latest technolgies such as massively parallel sequencing, construction of DNA microarrays, robotics platform, mass spectrometry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting, chemical screening, surface plasmon resonance, protein microarrays. Enrollment in this course is restricted to ten students. Only students with at least an A- in BIOL 515 (Biotechnology and Genomics Laboratory) are considered for acceptance into this course.

    CHEM 678 Protein Engineering and Design (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: Permission of the department. This course examines the principles behind protein design, how techniques of protein engineering are used, and the methods used to asses the properties of proteins. Examples include studies of protein stability and of structure-function relationships (e.g. protein-ligand interactions, additivity of mutations, changing specificity of enzymes, domain swapping, and multienzyme complexes), and applications to drug design. The use of bacteriophage display libraries, unnatural amino acids, site-directed mutagenesis, and directed evolution will also be covered. Students are expected to give an oral presentation on a selected paper or topic on protein engineering and design from the current research literature.

    CHEM 690A Experimental Protein Chemistry (3 credits)
    Prerequisite: permission of the department. This course covers common experimental techniques used to study protein structure and function. Techniques include: circular dichroism, fluorescence, uv/vis, and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopies, as well as isothermal titration microcalorimetry and analytical ultracentrifugation. The following are covered for each technique: a) theory, b) applications of the technique to the study of protein structure and function, and c) basic experiments, including use of the instrument and data analysis. In addition, each student carries out a research project using at least two of these techniques to examine aspects of structure and function of a specific protein.

     

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