Inquiry and Experiment: Jay Chugh on Advanced Biotechnology

The interview below is a part of a series on New ATDP Courses for 2013. Jay Chugh discusses his upcoming course, Advanced Biotechnology. Read the course description here.


Jay Chugh and students featured by Bio-Rad lab equipment
Jay Chugh and students featured by Bio-Rad lab equipment

How will Advanced Biotechnology be different from our Introduction to Biotechnology course, which you have taught in the past?

Students in Advanced Biotechnology will conduct similar experiments, but at a higher level. There will also be an inquiry component to the course, where students can design their own experiments in preparation for the science fair. We will also discuss topics in greater depth, and we will do some college-level molecular biology labs as well. And because the course is somewhat interdisciplinary in nature, we will explore the ethical, political, and social ramifications of various biotechnology tools and techniques.

Who should apply to this course? What are the prerequisites?

Students with an interest in learning biotech topics and skills should apply to the course. Prior background in biotechnology is not necessary, but students who have already taken Introduction to Biotechnology at ATDP may certainly apply to this more advanced course. Biology is a pre-requisite, and some familiarity with chemistry is recommended. Students will also build important communication, collaboration and critical thinking skills as well.

What are you most looking forward to about teaching Advanced Biotechnology to ATDP students?

I enjoy teaching motivated students from diverse backgrounds who come together in the summer to take advantage of a unique opportunity on one of the finest college campuses in the world! ATDP is a fantastic program and community with outstanding students and educators who share a passion for learning.

Is there anything else you’d like to share about this course?

I taught an Advanced Biotech for juniors and seniors at Acalanes, and two of them went on to win the International Science Fair. Our course was also the reason we were featured on the cover of the Bio-Rad catalog (above).

I think this will be a very popular and productive course with some outstanding labs and time for independent research as well (which students could continue during the schoolyear in preparation for the science fair).