Delaware Public Media

Million dollar grant will help Christiana Care, Del Tech pioneer gene editing curriculum

Sep 25, 2017

Delaware Technical Community College and Christiana Care Health System have received a $1 million grant to teach gene editing to community college students. 

 

The grant, awarded by the National Science Foundation, will allow researchers to offer Del Tech students valuable hands-on learning techniques in a growing field.

 

John McDowell teaches biology and biotechnology at Del Tech’s Stanton campus.

 

“We’re very excited about the opportunities it will provide for students that we have in the biological sciences program at the college,” McDowell said.

 

Eric Kmiec is the director of Christiana Care’s Gene Editing Institute at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center. He says this grant will help students get a leg up in bioscience careers.

 

“The ability to use this technology and understand it helps students who want to do therapeutic medicine and want to do genetic medicine on patients,” Kmiec said.

 

Through the grant, students will learn different gene editing techniques in hands-on lab courses and workshops. They’ll also learn about ethics, human cells and applying their skills in the real world.  

 

“We felt strongly that since we have the expertise here, it was almost the perfect storm,” Kmiec said. “You have great educators at Del Tech who are very focused on curriculum development and you have a technology with the folks here [at Christiana Care] who are pretty skilled in that. By combining that we would be able to give the students in Delaware a bit of a step up.”

 

The curriculum is being pioneered in Delaware starting in October. Kmiec is looking to move it nationally this spring.