A low-cost, in silico nutritional genomics course-based undergraduate research experience applicable to multiple disciplines
This article describes the development and assessment of a Nutritional Genomics course, designed to be held in a regular classroom during normal class periods, with few extra costs to the students or the department. The course was run as an upper-level undergraduate and lower-level graduate student course. Student taking the course spent 11 weeks learning and then 4 weeks using various in silico methods to independently characterize genes of interest in the field. During the last 4 weeks of the course, students combined their methods to test a hypothesis they generated about a gene they have not yet studied and completed a final report in the form of a journal article. Two students have published or are in the process of publishing work from their final project. Validated surveys of genetic knowledge given at least 6 months following the course indicated a very high level of genetic knowledge retainment, and favorable attitudes toward genetics testing and medical use of genetics. Finally, self-perceived critical thinking skills were high, and students indicated that they perceived these skills to be gained by their participation in the course. Materials and syllabus provided in the manuscript makes this CURE easily transferrable to other disciplines.