Thomas Jefferson University



What is it?

SummerScience@Jefferson is a 4-week program which aims to foster an appreciation of the role of science in everyday life, to promote an informed understanding of scientific issues that appear in headlines in the news, and to familiarize students with the vital and expanding field of biomedical sciences. The instructors for SummerScience@Jefferson are faculty members of the various Colleges at Thomas Jefferson University who are passionate about sharing their knowledge with high school students through lectures, discussion, and hands-on laboratory experiences. Topics include:


Molecular Biology

Students are introduced to the basics of molecular biology, including human genome and comparative genomics.  The curriculum provides hands on experience with various molecular biology techniques such as determination of bacterial antibiotic resistance, gene cloning, DNA sequencing, PCR, and DNA fingerprinting. The laboratory component includes examination of the structure and function of DNA, RNA, gene expression and protein synthesis. Students learn how to induce mutations and analyze DNA, RNA and proteins.

Cell Biology & Protein Chemistry

Students are introduced to the basic facts of cell biology, including cell morphology and physiology.  They study the role of antibodies in disease screening and prevention. Laboratory experiences include culturing of bacterial, animal and plant cells, as well as purification of proteins from cultured cells and their identification via various proteomic techniques such as Western blotting, immunohistochemistry, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA).

Pathology & Anatomy

Students are introduced to cell dysfunction and pathology as the basis for scientific medicine. They investigate the microscopic and macroscopic aspects of reversible and irreversible cell injury and learn about apoptosis (programmed cell death). Laboratory experiences include cellular morphology, cell viability, and cell counting. Students may have the option to perform hands on dissection of animals as well as human cadavers.

Molecular Mechanisms of Disease

In the final week, students apply their knowledge and experience to understanding the pathogenesis of various diseases such as cancer, AIDS, diabetes, and obesity while focusing primarily on genetics and environmental factors. They examine microscopic and macroscopic features and learn how cellular morphologies are affected in diseased tissues. Working with research professionals, students design experiments that examine some of the challenges of diseases and prepare formal presentations based on their theoretical and laboratory experiences.

For more information about SummerScience@Jefferson, click here.