The rapid expansion of CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing into every subdiscipline of biomedical research requires concomitant training of qualified technicians. The Technician Training in Gene Editing (TTiGE) project addresses this need through a collaboration between instructors at Delaware Technical Community College (DTCC) and scientists at the Gene Editing Institute (GEI). Through this partnership, the latest techniques and applications of gene editing being used in the research settings of GEI will be integrated into student-centered curriculum in several courses in the DTCC Biotechnology program. These activities will then be disseminated nationally to community college instructors through workshops with instruction in gene editing techniques. Training will also be provided in using high impact instruction in the classroom which has been proven to have significant impact on retention in STEM programs. By training instructors, the number of students receiving training in CRISPR gene editing techniques has the potential to support the increase use of gene editing in bioscience companies and research laboratories throughout the nation.
The goal of the TTiGE project is to increase the number of biotechnology technicians knowledgeable in CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing and associated skills. A GEI technician will be supported to transfer gene editing technical knowledge and advances to DTCC faculty who will create high impact curriculum to be incorporated into several classes in the Biotechnology program. This program further enhances the Biotechnology program which was strengthened by incorporation of active learning and undergraduate research (Award # 1003649). Two and five-day workshops will be developed to train community college faculty in gene editing techniques in yeast and mammalian cells and the use of student-centered curriculum. Follow-up communication will provide workshop attendees with technical and educational support and disseminate the latest technical advancements in the field. Project evaluation will measure the impact on Delaware Tech students and track incorporation of the materials into courses by workshop attendees. The teacher training in student-centered pedagogy will build teacher confidence to expand these practices into other courses with the goal of increasing retention and graduation rates of bioscience students. The gene editing focus of the TTiGE project insures that technicians are graduating with critical entry-level skills enriched with employability skills.