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Summer SAVY 2017, Session 2/Day 1- Genetic Epidemiology (Rising 6th/7th)

Posted by on Monday, June 19, 2017 in SAVY.

Good Afternoon Parents! I am so excited to be teaching your kids about genetic epidemiology this week. I absolutely love studying human genetics, so I hope that I can instill just a little of that enthusiasm into each of your students by the end of the week.

I like to refer to today as Genetics 101 or DNA Boot Camp – it was all about DNA structure, function, and localization. This morning, the students learned about how DNA is made up of repeating nucleotides, each of which consists of a sugar, a phosphate group, and one of four possible nitrogenous bases. Through our models, we also learned how DNA acts as a template to produce RNA molecules through a process known as transcription, and how RNA is then ‘translated’ to form proteins, the ‘workers’ inside each cell.

This afternoon, your students had the opportunity to become the teachers! I assigned groups key genetics terms that they then had to research on their own and teach their peers. I have to say that your students truly blew me away in how they attacked this opportunity, as well as their ability to understand (and then simplify for their peers) these complex terms/concepts.

We then closed out the afternoon by discussing what happens when mutations occur in DNA and how both RNA and proteins are affected by such mutations. We also began to talk about why it’s important that we as genetic epidemiologists study these mutations and variations. Unfortunately, our discussion was cut short by dismissal, but I hope to pick up tomorrow by discussing the role that genetic epidemiologists have in the Personalized Medicine Initiative, a goal aimed at removing the “one size fits all” mentality in medical care.

I can’t wait to teach your students more! Tomorrow we will be taking a field trip to the medical center side of campus, so make sure your students come dressed in comfy waking shoes and are prepared for the heat.

Dr. Jones

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