Minor Molecular Biotechnology

The Minor Molecular Biotechnology provides an excellent overview of modern biotechnology. The program comprises three theoretical courses preceding the practical course Molecular Design. In this course, students work in small groups on a project that they have selected themselves, with the aim to contribute to the solution of a societal problem using biotechnology (with which they have become familiar in the earlier courses of this minor). Molecular Design contributes to the maturation of students to become independent and critical thinkers. In the first part of the course, the students have several brainstorm sessions to try to come up with a solution for the offered problem. This will lead to the formulation of a research plan, which they embed in a well-structured research proposal. In the second part of the course the groups will actually start working in the lab to obtain proof-of-principle for their proposed ideas. In this format, the students learn to cooperate within a team, but also to plan and perform research, largely in an independent manner. This trains them for the bachelor research project, which immediately follows after completion of the minor, and during which they have to carry out a research project on their own. The added value of working in teams, as they do in the Molecular Design course, is that they can make use of each other’s talents: some students are superb in doing experiments, whereas others are natural presenters. By carefully dividing the tasks within their team according to these qualities, students learn how to work in a multidisciplinary fashion, which becomes increasingly important later on in their career.

© Dennis Claessen 2017