St. Georges Tech students to explore gene editing with newly developed tool kit

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St. Georges Technical High School in southern New Castle County will be the first high school in the United States to use ChristianaCare Gene Editing Institute’s innovative CRISPR in a Box Educational Toolkit in a science class.

CRISPR in a Box brings to life CRISPR gene editing technology – the “genetic scissors” that allow scientists to edit DNA. The toolkit is designed for educational sessions in secondary and post-secondary schools and is suitable for remote learning.

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“Gene editing is the future of medicine,” said Eric Kmiec, Ph.D., director of ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute. “Our partnership with the Delaware Department of Education will help cultivate the next generation of genetic scientists and enhance Delaware’s position as a leader in the biosciences.”

“We are thrilled that students at St. Georges Technical High School will be the first In the United States to experience a live demonstration of CRISPR gene editing using our Innovative CRISPR in a Box educational toolkit,” said Siobhan Hawthorne, education and community outreach leader at ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute. “This toolkit will provide STEM students with a visual understanding of how the exciting CRISPR technology can unlock medical treatments to improve lives.”

“We are so fortunate that ChristianaCare’s Gene Editing Institute reached out to our program to plan a high school ‘first’ opportunity with this new CRISPR experiment,” said Danya Espadas, one of the St. Georges biotech teachers. “Giving students the chance to use a cutting-edge, 21st century tool for medicine in their own high school lab – to have that technology at their fingertips – transcends what they see in a textbook or a video. By being able to do it themselves, it makes it real for them.”

Espadas said the experiment focuses on editing a gene of a non-infectious E.coli bacteria to become resistant to an antibiotic, thereby allowing researchers to create a new class of antibiotics that cannot be overcome by bacteria that are gene resistant.

“We’re talking about eventually saving lives, here,” she said. “What can be more important than that?”

The tools in CRISPR in a Box have been designed based on discoveries of the Gene Editing Institute that are currently being used to explore next-generation medical therapies and diagnostics for diseases, including lung cancer and sickle-cell anemia.

All materials in the kit are safe, synthetic materials. There are no live cultures or viruses involved. The kit is meant to provide a hands-on demonstration of CRISPR’s capabilities, and not allow for manipulations of living organisms.

Since the foundations of the kit touch upon key themes in biology, it can be readily incorporated into practically any science or biology course with a laboratory component,

CRISPR in a Box is the evolution of a partnership between the Gene Editing Institute, Delaware Technical Community College and Rockland Immunochemicals that began in 2017 with a National Science Foundation grant to develop the first-ever gene editing curriculum for community college students.

Click at the following link to learn more about the Gene Editing Institute,

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