Online Course on DNA – From Structure to Therapy

DNA stores the genetic information in all living cells. Modification in DNA can lead to cancer and other diseases. DNA-based technology is now used to detect and treat diseases. Considering this, iversity is coming up with new online course “DNA- From Structure to Therapy” in alliance with Jacobs University Bremen.

This course will take students from the DNA molecule to the development of novel therapies. In the beginning of this course, historical aspects and key experiments of DNA will be discussed such as how DNA was identified and proven to be the keeper of genetic information. After this, students will be taught that how the cells of DNA get divided and how the genetic information stored on DNA is organized into genes. This course will also explain how genes become transcribed into a messenger molecule. With this elementary knowledge students will be taught the basic techniques of DNA and how they are used in our daily lives such as for the analysis of food, in crime scene investigations and forensics, for the diagnosis of genetic diseases, and forDNA therapy development in modern molecular medicine.

After completing this course students will know a lot about structure, function and uses of DNA and will be able to recognize the DNA related terms which are used in the news (for example “gene”, “mutation”, “DNA fingerprint”).

Duration of Course

The session will start from 5th April 2014.


Applicants who are interested in modern biomedical research will be able to grasp the key concepts without strong background knowledge. High school level knowledge in Chemistry and Biology will be beneficial in passing the final examination.

Course Syllabus

The course will be divided into 14 units of approximately 15 minutes each. In the starting of every unit there will be a short introductory sequence that will describe the topic which is going to be covered. The main part of the lecture will have molecular models, power point animations, live drawings, and short lecture video sequences. At the end of each unit, students will be provided a question catalogue and links to supporting material. Immediate self testing will be possible through multiple choice questions and interactive tasks. As homework, students will work on “open questions” in student-centered discussion groups. Open questions are based on the material covered in the course but not compulsory and students will be encouraged to do their own reading to answer them.

The fourteen units comprise the following topics:
-How DNA is present in everyday life (DNA History I)
-DNA History II
-The structure and properties of DNA – DNA fingerprint
-Replication – the copying of DNA
-From DNA to Protein I – Transcription of Genes
-From DNA to Protein II – RNA processing
-From DNA to Protein III – translating the genetic code
-Methods I – making Genes visible
-Methods II – amplifying Genes
-Introduction to Genetic Diseases – Cancer
-Consequences of Mutations
-How to repair mutations?
-Muscular Dystrophies – when muscles die
-Stem Cell Therapies – replacing defective cells

About the Instructor

Dr.  rer. nat. habil. Susanne Illenberger

She has been teaching biochemistry and cell biology at the School of Engineering and Science at Jacobs University Bremen since 2007. She is specialized in the field of Biology and has completed her studies of biology at the University of Hannover, Germany in 1992.

Professor Sebastian Springer

He is a teacher of Biochemistry and Cell Biology at Jacobs University Bremen.

Dr. Nicole Kuhl

Nicole Kühl has developed the cell culture and quality management training and consulting company InCelligence in 2012.  She was the director of the PromoCell Academy in Heidelberg from 2008 to 2012.

For detail information visit the official website of iversity.

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