July 2019 Workshop – Code with Python and edit bacteria using CRISPR-Cas

A bioengineering workshop was conducted at Sector67 on July 15 & 18 – 2019, that bridged concepts in genome editing and computer programming. In this hands-on workshop, students edited a bacterial genome using the new and exciting CRISPR-Cas9 system and performed string manipulations using Python to visualize and code the cellular editing process.

In the wet-lab part of this workshop, students prepared Petri plates to grow bacteria.  The cultured bacteria were then incubated with multiple components constituting the CRISPS-Cas9  system (http://www.the-odin.com/diy-bacterial-crispr-refill-classroom-kit/)  to edit the genome.   The cells were then grown on Petri plates containing a growth medium that selects for the edited cells. 

In the computer lab the students learnt basic string manipulation code in Python to identify a target sequence in a genome by scanning, a process perhaps similar to the mechanism of CRISPR-Cas9. 

The class was capped at eight students and this allowed students to perform both the wet-lab experiments and spend time on the desktop computers to learn and code in Python.  The workshop was spread over two 4-hour days, July 15 and July 18. The genome editing experiment was conducted on the first day and the Petri plates were incubated for cell growth.

   The students came back the second day to look at the results and learn to code.

All eight students had  success in their editing experiments !

Stay tuned to more classes and workshops along these lines. 

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