The Gene Discovery Laboratory, HC70AL, is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation Plant Genome Program. The earliest iteration of this course was supported by a Howard Hughes University Professor's Award to Bob Goldberg.
The Gene Discovery Laboratory specifically targets non-science majors and entering life sciences students in order to teach them about how original, discovery-oriented research is carried out. Students who have completed HC70A, Genetic Engineering in Medicine, Agriculture, and Law, apply genetic engineering and genomics techniques learned in the classroom to a novel research experience studying plant genes that control seed development.
The objective is to teach students how to carry out an original, discovery-oriented research project. HC70AL students work under the guidance of an instructional team consisting of Professor Bob Goldberg, Dr. Kelli Henry (Senior Scientist and Lab Instructor), Min Chen (Lab Manager) and several undergraduate lab assistants and senior research associates that teach students state-of-the-art genomics, bioinformatics, and genetic engineering technologies. HC70AL students investigate knock-outs in Arabidopsis transcription factor genes specifically expressed in seeds which have not been studied previously. In addition, HC70AL students sequence and annotate a new plant genome the Scarlet Runner Bean using state-of-the-art 454 DNA sequencing. HC70AL Students report their experiments on a novel interactive Webbook and write lab reports in the form of short PNAS articles. At the end of this unique lab class, HC70AL students present their data at an all-class symposium designed to highlight their research experiences, and are given a white lab coat with their names embroidered in a closing ceremony designed to honor their research efforts.