Concordia University

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Graduate studies with CASB

Program overview

INDI is an individualized program of study which offers graduate studies at both the master’s and doctoral levels in areas not covered by existing graduate programs. The INDI-Program in Synthetic Biology is a thoroughly interdisciplinary program of study and research, bringing together ideas from Engineering, Biology and Biochemistry.

About the program

This program allows the student to study and do research leading to a Masters or PhD certification. The courses can be selected from a suggested set of courses that have been carefully compiled to provide a diverse yet cohesive program of study, in preparation for a masters or doctoral thesis. The most interesting part of such a program is a research thesis (or hypothesis) that the student, guided by qualified supervisors, formulates and tests, either for purpose of discovery or innovation. Ideas for research projects come from - but not only from - Metabolic Engineering, Synthetic Gene Networks, Genetic Therapy, Bioinformatics and Bio-Nanotechnology. Ultimately, what this program aims to do is generate novel research and train the researchers in a leading - and fast expanding - area of human scientific and technological enterprise.

The INDI-Synthetic Biology research program is managed in conjunction with the Centre for Applied Synthetic Biology at Concordia University; a centre of scholarship and research with professors from diverse specializations, faculties and universities. It is suggested that potential students discuss their own research ideas with one or more of the researchers at CASB. The professors will also likely have their own favourite projects, which they would explain to you. If you have a deep interest in Synthetic Biology; if you have the right background (or the willingness to acquire it) and you can work hard on risky yet ultimately rewarding research endeavors, then this is the program for you.

Students interested in joining the INDI-Synthetic Biology program at Concordia should review the application requirements and proposal instructions.


Participating faculty members:

Vincent Martin (Biology)
Nawwaf Kharma (Computer Engineering)
Luc Varin (Biology)
Mojtaba Kahrizi (Computer Engineering)
David Secko (Journalism)
Christopher Brett (Biology)
Malcolm Whiteway (Biology)


Courses

COEN 691A, BIOL 498S, BIOL 631B / Biological Computing & Synthetic Biology (3/4 credits U/G)

Offered by the Department of Electrical & Computer Eng. and the Department of Biology, Concordia University.

This course is a new interdisciplinary course with 2.5 class hours of lectures scheduled every week. This course is, in essence, about designing computational machines that can be implemented in biological media – mainly cells. Typically speaking, a computational functionality is required. A target implementation platform (e.g. E. coli bacteria) is decided upon, and a network of interacting genes is designed. That network, which is called a Gene Regulatory Network (GRN), is modeled using available simulation software. If the simulation is satisfactory, then actual physical genes are synthesized using recombinant DNA techniques, and then added to the genome of a cell. The result is a cell (or, in some cases a sheet of cells) that implements, as part of its overall functionality, a designed computational ability. The modified cell, as a whole, may be viewed as a biologically-engineered robot with sensing (e.g. arsenic concentration), information processing and output capabilities (e.g. fluorescence). Applications range widely, from environmental sensing to drug delivery.

Prerequisite(s): different pre-requisites for Electrical & Computer Eng. and Biology students; contact the instructors.


BIOL 521 / Industrial and Environmental Biotechnology (3 credits)

Offered by the Department of Biology, Concordia University.

This course provides an in-depth evaluation of current biotechnology tools used in pharmaceutical and forestry industries, and in environmental remediation. New technologies and genomic approaches that can be applied to these processes are also discussed.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 511 (Structural Genomics); BIOL 512 (Functional Genomics).

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