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Biotechnology Program

An undergraduate Minor in Biotechnology is available for all students who have met prerequisites in biology and chemistry. This Program is university-wide and combines NCSU's strengths in the life sciences, agriculture, and engineering. The Minor is ideal for students who wish to pursue graduate studies in the life sciences, biomedical professional degrees, or work in research and development in industry or government agencies.

The Biotechnology Minor combines cutting-edge, laboratory-intensive coursework with related independent undergraduate research experiences. Examples of advanced laboratory research in the BIT Program include recombinant DNA technology, RNA interference, PCR, neuroscience, epigenetics, deep sequencing analysis, CRISPR genome engineering, protein purification, metagenomics, proteomics, and more. 

Many curricula offer a great deal of theory about molecular biotechnology, but few allow for the level of hands-on experience that the Biotechnology Program provides.

For more information about the Biotechnology Minor and the most recent list of our courses, please visit the Biotechnology Program website.

BIT - Biotechnology Courses

BIT 100 Current Topics in Biotechnology 4.
Prerequisite: High School Biology.

This course provides both science and non-science students an opportunity to learn about current issues in biotechnology that play a role in our society. Topic areas will include contemporary and historical applications of biotechnology. From alternative fuel sources to the ramifications of the elucidation of the human genome on health care issues, advances in biotechnology are constantly reshaping the world we live in. Students will give presentations and participate in discussions in the classroom, as well as be engaged in the laboratory on a variety of different topics in biotechnology that affects all our lives.

BIT 200 Early Research in Biotechnology 4.
Prerequisite: High School Biology.

This course offers first-and second-year students an opportunity for a mentored research experience in a small class environment. Students will learn how to apply the scientific method to make new discoveries and contribute to scientific knowledge. Students may need to come to the lab outside class meeting times to complete work on occasion (flexible hours). Examples of research questions to be investigated in different sections: - Investigating bacteriophage for the management of American Floubrood Disease (AFS) of honey bees- Using planarian as a model system for studying genes important in stem cell differentiation and regeneration- Investigating the genetic potential of complex microbial populations.- Gene expression profiling in zebrafish embryos exposed to antibiotics and anti-acne compoundsFreshmen and Sophomores only.

BIT 210 Phage Hunters 3.

This course offers first-year students an opportunity for mentored research. Students will apply the scientific method to make novel discoveries. Students will isolate and characterize naturally-occurring bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria, but not humans) from the environment. They will present their data to each other, and the genome of one phage will be sequenced. Students have the option to continue in a second semester to annotate that genome, culminating in a submission to genbank and a poster presentation. Students in the course are part of the National Genome Research Initiative funded by The Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Student should have had a high school biology course before taking this course.

BIT 211 Phage Genomics 2.
Prerequisite: BIT(MB) 210.

This course offers first-year students an opportunity for mentored research. Student will apply the scientific method to make novel discoveries. Students will build on the work they began in BIT/MB 210; The novel phage isolated in the previous semester will undergo genome sequencing over winter break, and in this course students will learn to analyze and annotate the genome sequence. This semester will culminate in a submission to genbank and a poster presentation. Students in the course are part of the national genome research initiative funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

BIT 295 Special Topics in Biotechnology 1-3.

Offered as needed to present materials not normally available in regular course offerings or for offering of new courses on a trial basis.

BIT 410 Manipulation of Recombinant DNA 4.
Prerequisite: BIO 183 or ZO/BIO 160 and CH 223 or CH 227 with a C- or better.

Introduction to molecular biology and protein chemistry. Theory behind laboratory techniques and overview of cloning strategies starting from nucleic acid or protein sequence data. Laboratory sessions involve subcloning, preparation of competent cells, transformation, screening recombinant DNA by colony hybridization and PCR, SDS-PAGE of recombinant protein, affinity purification, and western blots.

BIT 462 Gene Expression Analysis: Microarrays 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or 510.

Microarray analysis is an evolving technique with its basis in the dynamic properties of the nucleic acid hybridization. We will review current theory, techniques, instrumentation, troubleshooting, analysis tools, and advanced protocols for microarray analysis. Students will have the opportunity to utilize skills learned during lecture in a laboratory environment and have access to exceptional instrumentation. At the conclusion of this course, students should feel comfortable with microarray experimental design, its tools, an analysis of generated data. This is a half-semester course. Student must register for both lecture and lab sections.

BIT 463 Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms 2.

Introduction to fermentation and protein chemistry. Theory behind laboratory techniques and overview of industrial scale expression systems. Laboratory sessions involve use of microbial expression vectors, fermentation systems, and large-scale purification of recombinant protein. Half semester course, first part.

BIT 464 Protein Purification 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454.

Comparison of several different chromatography techniques for protein purification. Construction of purification tables and SDS-and native-PAGE analysis. Cost-benefit analysis of industrial-scale procedures. Half semester course, second part.

BIT 465 Real-time PCR Techniques 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or 510.

Real time PCR is an evolving technique with its basis in the dynamic properties of the polymerase chain reaction and fluorescent detection. We will review current real-time theory, techniques, machinery, troubleshooting, tools, and advanced protocols for sequence detection including SYBR green, TaqMan, Beacons, multiplexing, and single nucleotide polymorphism analysis. Students will have the opportunity to utilize skills learned during lecture in a laboratory environment. At the conclusion of this course, students should feel comfortable with real-time experimental design, its tools, and analysis of generated data. This is a half-semester course. Student must register for both lecture and lab sections.

BIT 466 Animal Cell Culture Techniques 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454.

Introduction to animal cell culture techniques. Aseptic technique for vertebrate cell culture, media formulation, primary cell culture, long-term maintenance of cell lines, application of molecular techniques to in vitro situations. Half semester course, first part.

BIT 467 PCR and DNA Fingerprinting 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410/510.

Introduction to polymerase chain reaction. Optimization of PCR reactions and primer design for DNA sequences using DNA databases available on the web. Laboratory sections include using rapid techniques for isolating and sequencing DNA from small amounts of sample and forensic identification of individuals using isolated human hairs. Credit is not allowed for both BIT 467 and BIT 567.

BIT 468 Genome Mapping 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454.

Students will be introduced to basic techniques in genetic and physical mapping. The principles of DNA marker development, marker detection, genetic and physical mapping and DNA sequencing will be addressed from a practical view with an emphasis onagricultural applications. This is a half semester course. Student must register for both lecture and lab sections.

BIT 471 RNA Interference and Model Organisms 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454.

Introduction and history of RNA interference technology. Principles, mechanism, and applications of RNA interference in model organisms. Laboratory sessions include RNA interference-mediated silencing of genes in plants, C. elegeans, and mammalian cell culture. This is a half-semester course (8 weeks). Student may not earn credit for both BIT 471 and BIT 571.

BIT 473 Protein Interactions 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BCH 454.

The interactions of proteins mediate numerous biological processes of cells. This course focuses on ways to identify and study protein-protein interactions, focusing on the advantages and limitations of each technique and how to apply the methods in a laboratory setting. In lab, students will perform a yeast two-hybrid experiment and a co-immunoprecipitation from proteins expressed in mammalian cell culture to confirm detected interactions. This a half-semester course.

BIT 474 Plant Genetic Engineering 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454 or PB 421.

This course covers fundamental hands-on techniques and strategies in plant genetic engineering. Plants are major sources of food, fiber and fuel and provide model systems for both fundamental and applied research. Students will learn techniques for stable and transient transformation of plants and plant cell cultures and selection and detection of transgene expression. Additional topics covered will include methods to generate and screen for mutants, synthetic biology and applications of plant genetic engineering. This is a half-semester course. Credit is not allowed for both BIT 474 and BIT 574.

BIT 476 Applied Bioinformatics 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BCH 454 or GN 311.

The haploid human genome occupies a total of just over 3 billion DNA base pairs. This information is not contained in books, but stored in electronic databases. Computational biology utilizes infer function by comparative analysis. This course is designed for life scientists from all fields to introduce them to the power of bioinformatics and enable them to access and utilize biological information in databases for their own research.

BIT 477 Metagenomics 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or 510.

Participants will be introduced to a variety of methods for studying the complex microbial populations that surround us, including theory, applications, limitations, and health and legal implications. Students will apply deep sequencing techniques to mine the genetic diversity of complex microbial populations such as the rhizosphere, a swine lagoon sample, or even the communities of microbes growing happily inside your kitchen sink drain. This course will provide hands-on experience with molecular and computational tools that can be used to study the relationships between microbial communities and ecosystems or hosts.

BIT 478 Mapping the Brain 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410.

Mapping the Brain is designed to provide students with a neuroscience research experience. In lecture, students will gain an appreciation for the fundamental challenges inherent in studying the brain and explore the theory, applications, and limitations of new and traditional technologies employed in modern neuroscience. In the lab, students will use a novel transgenic mouse model to analyze the connections of a single population of neurons and the effects of stimulating their activity in vivo. This hands-on laboratory research experience will expose students to common laboratory approaches (histology, microscopy, etc.) as well as to cutting edge genetic approaches.

BIT 481 Plant Tissue Culture and Transformation 2.

Basic techniques in plant tissue culture and transformation. Empirical approaches to techniques in plant tissue culture, designing transgenes for expression in specific plant cell organelles and tissues, use of reporter genes to optimize transformation, and troubleshooting transformation. Laboratory sessions provide hands-on experience with plant tissue culture and transformation. Use of reporter genes, fluorescence microscopy and digital imaging. Half semester course, first part.

BIT 492 External Learning Experience 1-6.

A learning experience in the area of biotechnology within an academic framework that utilizes facilities and resources which are external to the campus. Contact and arrangements with prospective employers must be initiated by student and approved by a faculty adviser, the prospective employer, and the departmental teaching coordinator prior to the experience. Project must be approved by the Academic Coordinator or Program Director of the Biotechnology Program.

BIT 493 Special Problems in Biotechnology 1-6.

A learning experience within an academic framework that utilizes campus facilities and resources. Contact and arrangements with prospective mentor(s) must be initiated by student and approved by a faculty adviser, the prospective mentor, and the departmental teaching coordinator prior to the experience. Project must be approved by the Academic Coordinator of Program Director of the Biotechnology Program.

BIT 495 Special Topics in Biotechnology 1-3.

Offered as needed to present materials not normally available in regular course offerings or for offering of new courses on a trial basis.

BIT 501 Ethical Issues in Biotechnology 1.

Students investigate and discuss current controversial issues in biotechnology. This course emphasizes thinking about new technologies in a rational and thoughtful way.

BIT 510 Core Technologies in Molecular and Cellular Biology 4.
Prerequisite: Equivalent of CH 223 and (MB 351 or GN 311).

Basic technologies of recombinant DNA procedures, gene expression, isolation and identification of nucleic acids and proteins.

BIT 562 Gene Expression Analysis: Microarrays 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or 510.

Microarray analysis is an evolving technique with its basis in the dynamic properties of the nucleic acid hybridization. We will review current theory, techniques, instrumentation, troubleshooting, analysis tools, and advanced protocols for microarray analysis. Students will have the opportunity to utilize skills learned during lecture in a laboratory environment and have access to exceptional instrumentation. At the conclusion of this course, students should feel comfortable with microarray experimental design, its tools, an analysis of generated data. This is a half-semester course. Student must register for both lecture and lab sections.

BIT 563 Fermentation of Recombinant Microorganisms 2.

Introduction to fermentation and protein chemistry. Theory behind laboratory techniques and overview of industrial scale expression systems. Laboratory sessions involve use of microbial expression vectors, fermentation systems, and large-scale purification of recombinant protein. Half semester course, first part.

BIT 564 Protein Purification 2.

Comparison of several different chromatography techniques for protein purification. Construction of purification tables and SDS-and native-PAGE analysis. Cost-benefit analysis of industrial-scale procedures. Half semester course, second part.

BIT 565 Real-time PCR Techniques 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or 510.

Real time PCR is an evolving technique with its basis in the dynamic properties of the polymerase chain reaction and fluorescent detection. We will review current real-time theory, techniques, machinery, troubleshooting, tools, and advanced protocols for sequence detection including SYBR green, TaqMan, Beacons, multiplexing, and single nucleotide polymorphism analysis. Students will have the opportunity to utilize skills learned during lecture in a laboratory environment. At the conclusion of this course, students should feel comfortable with real-time experimental design, its tools, and analysis of generated data. This is a half-semester course. Student must register for both lecture and lab sections.

BIT 566 Animal Cell Culture Techniques 2.

Introduction to animal cell culture techniques. Aseptic technique for vertebrate cell culture, media formulation, primary cell culture, long-term maintenance of cell lines, application of molecular techniques to in vitro situations. Half semester course, first part.

BIT 567 PCR and DNA Fingerprinting 2.

Introduction to polymerase chain reaction. Optimization of PCR reactions and primer design for DNA sequences using DNA databases available on the web. Laboratory sections include using rapid techniques for isolating and sequencing DNA from small amounts of sample and forensic identification of individuals using isolated human hairs. Credit is not allowed for both BIT 467 and BIT 567.

BIT 568 Genome Mapping 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454.

Students will be introduced to basic techniques in genetic and physical mapping. The principles of DNA marker development, marker detection, genetic and physical mapping and DNA sequencing will be addressed from a practical view with an emphasis onagricultural applications. This is a half semester course. Student must register for both lecture and lab sections.

BIT 569 RNA Purification and Analysis 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or 510.

Laboratory-intensive course covering techniques in RNA purification and analysis including: isolation of quality RNA; quantification by gel and spectrophotometer; separation by gel electrophoresis; reverse transcription PCR; and Northern blotting using non-radioactive labeling and detection by chemi-luminescense. Half semester course.

BIT 571 RNA Interference and Model Organisms 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454.

Introduction and history of RNA interference technology. Principles, mechanism, and applications of RNA interference in model organisms. Laboratory sessions include RNA interference-mediated silencing of genes in plants, C. elegeans, and mammalian cell culture. This is a half-semester course (8 weeks). Student may not earn credit for both BIT 471 and BIT 571.

BIT 572 Proteomics 3.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454 (or approval from the instructor).

Introduction and history of the field of proteomics followed by the principles and applications of proteomics technology to understand protein expression and protein post-transitional modifications. Laboratory sessions include growing yeast with stable-isotope labeled amino acids, protein purification, Western blots, protein identification and quantification, and protein bioinformatic analysis. This is a half-semester course.

BIT 573 Protein-Protein Interactions 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454 (or approval from the instructor).

The interactions of proteins mediate numerous biological processes of cells. This course focuses on ways to identify and study protein-protein interactions. Students will apply a variety of methods for studying protein-protein interactions, focusing on the advantages and limitations of each technique and how to apply the methods in a laboratory setting. In lab, students will perform a yeast two-hybrid experiment and a co-immunoprecipitation from proteins expressed in mammalian cell culture to confirm detected interactions. This is a half-semester course.

BIT 574 Plant Genetic Engineering 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or BIT 510 or BCH 454 or PB 421.

This course covers fundamental hands-on techniques and strategies in plant genetic engineering. Plants are major sources of food, fiber and fuel and provide model systems for both fundamental and applied research. Students will learn techniques for stable and transient transformation of plants and plant cell cultures and selection and detection of transgene expression. Additional topics covered will include methods to generate and screen for mutants, synthetic biology and applications of plant genetic engineering. This is a half-semester course. Credit is not allowed for both BIT 474 and BIT 574.

BIT 577 Metagenomics 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 410 or 510.

Participants will be introduced to a variety of methods for studying the complex microbial populations that surround us, including theory, applications, limitations, and health and legal implications. Students will apply deep sequencing techniques to mine the genetic diversity of complex microbial populations such as the rhizosphere, a swine lagoon sample, or even the communities of microbes growing happily inside your kitchen sink drain. This course will provide hands-on experience with molecular and computational tools that can be used to study the relationships between microbial communities and ecosystems or hosts.

BIT 578 Mapping the Brain 2.
Prerequisite: BIT 510.

Mapping the Brain is designed to provide students with a neuroscience research experience. In lecture, students will gain an appreciation for the fundamental challenges inherent in studying the brain and explore the theory, applications, and limitations of new and traditional technologies employed in modern neuroscience. In the lab, students will use a novel transgenic mouse model to analyze the connections of a single population of neurons and the effects of stimulating their activity in vivo. This hands-on laboratory research experience will expose students to common laboratory approaches (histology, microscopy, etc.) as well as to cutting edge genetic approaches.

BIT 581 Plant Transformatn 2.

BIT 595 Special Topics 1-6.

Offered as needed to present materials not normally available in regular course offerings or for offering of new courses on a trial basis.

BIT 685 Master's Supervised Teaching 1-3.
Master's students only.

Teaching experience under the mentorship of faculty who assist the student in planning for the teaching assignment, observe and provide feedback to the student during the teaching assignment, and evaluate the student upon completion of the assignment.

BIT 693 Master's Supervised Research 1-9.
Prerequisite: Master's student.

Instruction in research and research under the mentorship of a member of the Graduate Faculty.

BIT 696 Summer Thesis Res 1.

BIT 815 Advanced Special Topics 1-6.
Prerequisite: BIT 510.

Intensive three-week or six-week courses in advanced technologies such as DNA sequencing, downstream processing, immunological techniques, construction of c-DNA libraries, mammalian embryo manipulation, plant transformation, bioreactor design, cloning in gram positive bacteria, electron microscopy or techniques in yeast molecular biology.

BIT 885 Doctoral Supervised Teaching 1-3.
Doctoral students only (DR).

Teaching experience under the mentorship of faculty who assist the student in planning for the teaching assignment, observe and provide feedback to the student during the teaching assignment, and evaluate the student upon completion of the assignment.

BIT 896 Summer Dissert Res 1.