Course Syllabus

Intro to Biotechnology


Pre-requisites – Biology I and Chemistry (may be taken at same time)     2020-2021


Location - Millersburg Area School District


Lecture and Laboratory:  Monday through Friday 45 minute periods


Name and Contact Information


Mrs. Davis


Phone: 717-692-2108 Ext.1139


Text: Biotechnology: A Laboratory Skills Course Second Edition (2018)


Course Description and Learning Objectives


Course Description

This course is designed for juniors and seniors with at least two years of prior science including Biology.  The course centers on contemporary topics in biology and biotechnology including microbiology, pathology, forensics and criminalistics, and genetic technologies.  The focus will be on examination and understanding of various topics in the Biotechnological world around them and the way the quality of life can be improved through modern biological techniques.  With all the popularity and relation to biotechnology, forensic sciences and criminalistics will be another aspect of study.   This course integrates concepts and hands-on laboratory activities together with real-world applications to get a better understanding of the world of biotechnology and genetic engineering.  Laboratory skills include DNA extraction, pipetting, calculating dilutions, making solutions, media preparation, culturing bacteria, streaking plates, restriction enzyme digestion, horizontal agarose gel electrophoresis, DNA fingerprinting, plasmid mapping, and eukaryotic cell staining.  Students will learn the basics of DNA structure along with manipulation techniques and tools, including restriction enzymes, ligases, advanced cloning techniques, and CRISPR technology.  They will perform PCR to identify suspect DNA, detect genetically modified material in foods, determine human relatedness, and barcode fish species.  Students will learn about protein translation, protein production, and the role of proteins in drug discovery.  Finally, the students will also examine the ethical implications of these topics and technologies, studying their impact on their lives as well as society’s in general. 


Prerequisites and Co-requisites

Students must successfully complete Biology I and have either passed Chemistry or be taking it concurrently.




Skill-level Expectations

Students enrolling in this course are expected to have the following skills:  college-level reading comprehension; college-level composition; application of intermediate algebra; and proficiency with computer programs such as Google slides and Google docs


Textbooks and other course materials

Text: Biotechnology: A Laboratory Skills Course Second Edition (2018)

Lab Notebook:  A lab notebook will be provided

Grading System

Tests/Quizzes                          about 50%

Laboratory Reports/Essays     about 40%

Homework/Classwork                        about 10%

  • ASSESSMENT: A variety of assessments will be used in this course, but the majority of your grade will be determined by quizzes and tests.  A unit test will be given upon completion of each unit of study.  Questions on quizzes and tests will include material covered during class, in assigned readings and from laboratories.  Projects may also be given for various units of study.  Additionally, since labs are a major part of the Biotechnology course, laboratory reports will be graded.

**Since this course will be offered for college credit through Harrisburg University, two Key Assignments will be required throughout the year.  Requirements for both assignments will be determined by Harrisburg University.  One is an applications essay, and one is a poster-based project.  Student work will be scanned and submitted to the college.  Both assignments must be completed, and the grades will factor into the final grade for this course.

  • EVALUATION: Evaluation criteria include participating in and completing classroom activities, working cooperatively in group assignments, correctly answering questions on quizzes/tests, completion of assigned projects, communication of laboratory data in a correct and complete manner, and demonstrating proper lab techniques and safety.  
  • MAKE UP WORK: According to district policy, students must have the ability to make up any missed work for verified absences.  It is your responsibility to make arrangements to get the work that you miss when you are absent.  If you miss a quiz or test, it is your responsibility to schedule a time to take it.  Labs are particularly difficult to make up so, make every effort to attend all classes where we will be conducting a lab.
  • Plagiarism Statement:  Plagiarism, in any extent, will not be tolerated under any circumstance.  Incidences of plagiarism will result in a grade of F for that assignment, and a formal complaint will be filed with the Dean of Student Affairs/Provost.  Students will have an opportunity to appeal the complaint.  Any students uncertain about the definition of plagiarism are encouraged to talk with their instructor, an advisor in the student success center, or the campus librarian.


Lab Reports:

  • Students will complete a lab report for each laboratory activity.  Lab reports will be graded according to the following table:

Lab Report Grade Sheet:


Purpose / Introduction (5 pts.)


Methods (5 pts.)


Equations / Calculations (if applicable) (5 pts.)


Data Tables / Figures/photos as applicable/results  (5 pts.)


Conclusions (10 pts.)


Writing / Grammar (5 pts.)


Spelling (5 pts.)


Report Total (40 points)


Tentative Outline


Chapter 1 – Biotechnology Industry


            1.1 – What is Biotechnology?           

            1.2 – Who uses Biotechnology?

            1.3 – The Biotechnology Industry

            1.4 – Governmental Regulation of Biotechnology

            1.5 – Industry Practices

            1.6 – Biotechnology Company Structure

            1.7 – Careers in Biotechnology


Chapter 2 – Laboratory Skills


            2.1 – Laboratory Safety

            2.2 – Laboratory Notebooks

            2.3 – Laboratory Equipment

            2.4 – Numerical Data

            2.5 – Preparing Solutions


Chapter 3 – Microbiology and Cell Culture


            3.1 – Microbiology and Cell Biology

            3.2 – Bacteria

            3.3 – Uses of Bacteria in Biotechnology

            3.4 – Culturing Bacteria in the Laboratory

            3.5 – Microbiological Techniques

            3.6 – Eukaryotic Cells

            3.7 – Uses of Eukaryotic Cells in Biotechnology

            3.8 – Eukaryotic Cell Culture


Chapter 4 – DNA Structure and Analysis


            4.1 – Molecular Biology

            4.2 – DNA Structure

            4.3 – Recombinant DNA Technology

            4.4 – DNA Analysis Techniques

            4.5 – Restriction Enzymes as Forensic Tools


Chapter 5 – Bacterial Transformation and Plasmid Purification  


            5.1 – History of Bacterial Transformation and Plasmids Bacteria

            5.2 – Transforming Cells

            5.3 – Plasmid Purification and Quantitation


Chapter 6 – The Polymerase Chain Reaction


            6.1 – Invention of PCR

            6.2 – What is PCR?

            6.3 – Thermal Cyclers

            6.4 – Types of PCR

            6.5 – PCR Optimization

            6.6 – Techniques Based on PCR

            6.7 – Real-World Applications of PCR


Chapter 7 – Protein Structure and Analysis


7.1 – Protein Synthesis

            7.2 – Protein Structure

            7.3 – Proteins in Biology

            7.4 – Proteins in Biotechnology

            7.5 – Methods of Protein Analysis

            7.6 – Protein Production in Industry


Chapter 8 – Immunological Applications


8.1 – The Immune System

8.2 – Antibodies as Tools

8.3 – Immunoassays