Tom Soh brings hands-on molecular biology techniques to engineering students
Thanks to Stanford University’s Community of Shared Advanced Research Platforms (c-ShARP)
Professor Tom Soh received a c-ShARP (Community of Shared Advanced Research Platforms) grant to create the course, Analytical Methods in Biotechnology I and II (EE235A and B). EE235B teaches engineering graduate students advanced techniques with biotechnology equipment. It’s a follow-up course to Analytical Methods in Biotechnology I (EE235A). In that class, engineering students – ranging from mechanical to electrical to computer science – have their first opportunity to get hands-on with molecular biology techniques, such as CRISPR and next-generation DNA sequencing.
“When you work on something that you have no background in, sometimes it can be a very good thing because you aren’t encumbered by the conventional frameworks of what’s possible and not possible,” says Tom. He created EE235A to enable engineering students to see what’s possible in their own careers. “I know what their background is because it’s my background. I know what they don’t know. When I came to Stanford, I asked, ‘Would it be possible to give these talented students the experience that I had to piece together for myself over the past two decades – in one quarter?’ ”
In the c-ShARP-funded course, Tom worked with four core facilities. In the class, students conducted a series of experiments where each one built on the previous using a different core facility, with about two weeks spent in each.
The knowledge opens doors not only to additional research questions, but also careers.
Tom says, “After this course, their job opportunities open up. There are a lot of biomedical and biotech companies who need engineers who can speak multiple languages – hardware, algorithms, and molecules. They might go on to careers they wouldn’t even have known about."
EE-related Research Facilities: Affiliates, Facilities and Institutes
Excerpted from Stanford Report, “c-ShARP Education group connects shared resources with coursework.”