Tartu, Estonia

Synthetic Biology and its Applications

when 28 July 2024 - 7 August 2024
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 2 EC
fee EUR 600

The goal of the summer school is to provide an overview of synthetic biology advances and their applications. Students will get hands-on experience in molecular cloning and genetic engineering, visit University of Tartu research centers.

Laboratory work will focus on genetically modifying yeast to produce carotenes and violacein, extracting them from yeast cells, and analyzing the results via HPLC and TLC.

Carotenes and violaceins are colorful chemical compounds and have a wide range of applications. For example, carotenes are used in cosmetics and the food industry; and violaceins possess antimicrobial and antitumor properties that have great potential in medicine. Students will learn how society could utilize synthetic biology to decrease the production price and reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact compared to conventional production methods.

Students will learn how to work in the molecular biology lab, safety rules, how to operate laboratory equipment (e.g., PCR machines, centrifuges, vortexes, thermostats, etc.). Students will also create artworks using yeast cells that synthesize carotenes and violaceins.

Course leader

Ilona Faustova, Associate Professor in Molecular Biology, Programme Director of Science & Technology and Bioengineering programmes

Target group

High school students, BSc

Course aim

The student completing the course will:

1. Know the main branches of synthetic biology
2. Will learn potential drawbacks and ethical issues raised by synthetic biology development
3. Know different molecular cloning techniques, including Golden Gate assembly and digest/ligate cloning
4. Be able to perform PCR, DNA gel electrophoresis, Bacterial and yeast transformations, DNA extraction from bacterial cells
5. Learn about different sequencing methods and how to analyze the results of Sanger sequencing
6. Perform carotene and violacein extraction from S. Cerevisiae cells
7. Learn the basics of HPLC and TLC, perform TLC and analyze the results

Fee info

EUR 600: Course fee
EUR 175: Accommodation in the student dormitories for 10 nights.


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