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The NIH-funded NC State IPERT program brings together partner institutions to develop molecular biotechnology courses that are research-based.

The BIT Program is dedicated to the implementation and expansion of hands-on, inquiry-based laboratory exercises for the education of future STEM professionals. Our instructors, including teaching postdoctoral scholars, design novel laboratory courses based on current scientific inquiries in their respective fields. We bring together a variety of areas of expertise, including biochemistry, microbiology, plant biology, bioinformatics, and more to educate students from equally diverse backgrounds across campus. Through the Innovative Programs to Enhance Research Training (IPERT) funded by the National Institute for Health (NIH), six diverse higher education institutions are collaborating to enhance biotechnology research courses.

Diagram with several courses and their activities.
BIT 100: Current Topics in Biotechnology
BIT 410/510: Core Technologies in Molecular Biology
Eight-week MBLEMs
Virus Biotechnology MBLEM
Protein Engineering MBLEM
Protein Interactions MBLEM
Metagenomics MBLEM
Epigenetics MBLEM
Outline of Developed MBLEMs.

These novel inquiry-based lab courses, or MBLEMs (Molecular Biotechnology Laboratory Education Modules), teach fundamental and cutting-edge biotechnology techniques and are the backbone of our BIT minor and certificate programs. Many of our MBLEMs have been published in peer-reviewed education journals with the goal of dissemination to the higher education STEM community. These include our core molecular biology techniques course and courses on Protein-Protein and Protein-DNA interactions. Protocols and syllabi from the MBLEMs are also available on our QUBES collaborative site.

In order to facilitate the dissemination of these MBLEMs, the BIT Program has obtained an NIH IPERT grant to partner with five institutions in order to streamline the process of adapting lab modules across diverse settings. Our partners currently include Alamance Community College, Centre College, Emory University, North Carolina Central University, and the University of North Carolina – Pembroke, with the goal of adding additional partner institutions. 

Despite the accelerating expansion of online resources for modern life science education and training, the reality is that the development of molecular biology laboratory-based skills requires “hands-on” instruction, preferably in a research-oriented context. Educational strategies that rely on lecture alone or traditional, but outdated, laboratory experiences ineffectively prepare the current and future generations of the US biomedical workforce. New paradigms are needed for molecular biology lab training that are flexible, inclusive, broadly applicable and supportive of inter-institutional cooperation, all of which is addressed in the proposed project.

NIH: 1R25GM130528-01A1