What you'll learn

  • Explain the way in which CRISPR can be used as a tool to edit genes
  • Analyze how CRISPR can be used to optimize microbes for the food, health, and energy industries
  • Compare the use of CRISPR in agriculture when optimizing crops with other applications
  • Recommend guidelines for an ethical use of CRISPR by considering the ethical implications CRISPR genetic manipulation raises as the technology is developed
  • Articulate the various ways in which CRISPR can be used to combat cancer

Course description

With the potential to revolutionize agriculture and treat genetic diseases, CRISPR promises to create change in essential areas that were previously ignored within the disruptive tech.

The CRISPR: Gene-Editing Applications online short course from Harvard’s VPAL is an introduction to the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) gene-editing technology, and its potential application across various industries. 

This course provides you with an insight into the fundamental principles of gene-editing and how CRISPR functions as a gene-editing tool. During the eight weeks, you’ll be introduced to the significant ways in which CRISPR could be applied to healthcare, agriculture, food, and energy industries.

You’ll gain an understanding of the disruptive potential across multiple industries, as well as the ability to better communicate your company’s biotech innovations to decision makers.

Course outline

  • Basic principles of molecular biology 
  • CRISPR and genetic engineering
  • Treating genetic diseases
  • Promoting resistance to infectious diseases
  • Combating cancer through research and treatment
  • Optimizing and fighting microorganisms: The food, health, and energy industries
  • Improving agriculture: Optimizing crops
  • The ethics of using CRISPR


  • Director of Undergraduate Research and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Harvard University
  • Postdoctoral Fellow and Teaching Assistant, Harvard University
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