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Biological Inquiry

Program(s): Immersion

*Taught Online for Summer 2021*  In Biological Inquiry, students will learn about current research in molecular genetics and cell biology. As a class, we will read and talk about biotech methods used in research labs. In lieu of hands-on experiments, students will use simulation software to learn current techniques (CRISPR, synthetic biology, next generation sequencing) as well as more well-established techniques (cloning, PCR, cell culture and pharmacology of medicines). Students will also read and analyze research articles, with an emphasis on discussing the ideas presented in those papers.  In live sessions, group activities will emphasize problem solving and discussion. What do scientists do? How do you frame questions in an experiment? What are effective ways to present results?  We have also invited a bevy of scientists to discuss their research. These talks will cover a variety of topics. Previous talks explored infectious disease, diagnostics, personal genomics, microbiomes, ancient DNA, and regeneration.  Moreover, students will ask “What if?” and design some of their own experiments.  The course will culminate with a “final project”, in which the students, working in small groups, will design a set of experiments to test a question of interest to them. 

Daily Course Expectations

  • 6 hours of daily work
  • Mix of synchronous and asynchronous work (see definitions here)
  • 1 required synchronous session per day: 9:00 A.M to 12:00 P.M CST

Course Considerations

Applicants should currently be in 10th or 11th grade.

Students should have a passion for science, with strong performances in high school biology, math, and chemistry (honors or advanced level preferred if available). The class is fast-paced, and concludes with the presentation of a research project that the students have designed. Strong English proficiency skills are necessary.

Course Overview

Current Grade / Education Level

10th Grade
11th Grade



Start Date

June 21

End Date

July 08

Class Details

Primary Instructor

Chris Schonbaum

Secondary Instructor

Academic Interest

Biological Sciences

Class Specifics

Course Code

BIOS 10012 94

Class Day(s)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri


Session I

Course Length

3 weeks