CRISPR Biology

Course content

Central topics in CRISPR research will be introduced in overview lectures. These include: (i) discovery, evolution and classification of CRISPR-Cas system, (ii) structure-function relationship in main classes of Cas proteins, (iii) molecular mechanisms of acquisition of new spacers, crRNA biogenesis and nucleic acids interference by major types of CRISPR-Cas systems (type I, II, III and IV), (iv) regulation of CRISPR immunity, and (v) applications of versatile CRISPR-Cas system in genome editing and gene regulation as well as new applications emerged from developing CRISPR technology research.

Time is also reserved for group work and for invited lectures by international and Danish experts in CRISPR research and in developing CRISPR technology both from academic institutions and from biotech firms.

The project work is in groups of 3 students. Each group will do a small literature project on a subject related to biology of CRISPR-Cas systems or their applications (approx. 6 pages). Essay subjects are outlined in advance by the teachers among which each group should choose a subject that they find of particular importance and interest. Essay supervision is for 2 x 30 min and will be scheduled within the first week. All finished essays will be collected in a compendium, which will serve as part of the course curriculum for the exam.

Three experiments will be conducted including a genome editing utilizing a plasmid-borne CRISPR-Cas9 system, gene mutagenesis by an endogenous CRISPR-Cas system and gene silencing by a type III system.

Three days are reserved for preparation to the exam, during which the groups will meet and answer questions on their project from the students of other groups.

Learning outcome

Knowledge:

At the conclusion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Understand the molecular mechanisms of the acquisition of new spacers, crRNA biogenesis, the structural features of main types of crRNA-Cas protein effector complexes, the identification of foreign nucleic acids and mechanisms of target nucleic acids destruction.
  • Outline the key steps in the CRISPR-based adaptive antiviral immunity, including spacer acquisition, crRNA biogenesis, crRNA nucleoprotein formation for invading DNA/RNA silencing.
  • Understand the principles of CRISPR-based genome editing and gene silencing and discuss their therapeutic potential in curing human diseases.
  • Give examples of how CRISPR technology is applied in academic and commercial research.
     

Skills:

At the conclusion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Identify relevant articles from the primary literature to a given subject related to biology of CRISPR-Cas system and CRISPR biotechnology.
  • Write a short and concise essay on a subject within CRISPR Biology, which will allow fellow students to understand the key points.
  • Design vectors for CRISPR genome editing in prokaryotes as well as in eukaryotes and perform genome editing with CRRISPR-Cas9 or an endogenous CRISPR-Cas system in bacteria and in archaea
  • Design experiments for performing gene silencing in bacteria and in archaea
     

Competences:

At the conclusion of the course, the students should be able to:

  • Identify and communicate key points on a subject within CRISPR Biology and present these in written and oral form.
  • Identify and communicate key points in designing CRISPR tools for genome editing and gene silencing.
  • Formulate questions to and give constructive feedback on projects presented by other students.

Lectures, colloquia, essay projects and lab exercises.

See Absalon.

ECTS
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 30 minutes
The oral exam (preperation time 3 days) is for each student individually and consists of a short presentation/discussion of one essay randomly chosen from the compendium (8-10 different essays). Next the student will get some questions to the essay that the student wrote together with his/her group, followed by questions in the topics covered in a few selected reviews, focusing on concepts and overall mechanisms of CRISPR biology.
Aid
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

In order to obtain the grade 12 the student should convincingly and accurately demonstrate the knowledge, skills and competences described under Learning Outcome.

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Preparation
  • 98,5
  • Lectures
  • 16
  • Colloquia
  • 20
  • Project work
  • 40
  • Practical exercises
  • 30
  • Guidance
  • 1
  • English
  • 206,0