HHMI: Biotech Explorers

Teams Taking First Steps Toward Scientific Challenges: The Biotech Explorers Pathway and Beyond

Biotechnology is truly interdisciplinary and draws on biology, chemistry, engineering, physics, computer science, management, public policy, and law.  The Biotech Explorers Pathway (BEP) introduces students to the fundamental science behind biotechnology and what it takes to move discoveries from the laboratory into the real-world.  The BEP connects science, business, technology, and engineering at the start of undergraduate studies, highlights how scientific discoveries lead to useful applications, and engages curiosity through team-based inquiry that guides students from examples toward idea generation and project development.  The first-year courses are a portal to the second-year project development and transition to capstone experiences fellowships for the summer between sophomore and junior year.

First Year

Bio2010:  The Science of Biotechnology (Fall semester)

This introductory course lets students see the science and real-world applications of biotechnology.  This course also serves as the gateway into the BEP.  Over the semester, students explore basic science concepts and how discoveries lead to biotech applications addressing global challenges.  Student teams will develop short case studies of St. Louis biotech companies to understand the connections between science and biotech business.  A series of "site visits" showcase science in action and introduce students to the St. Louis biotech community.

Bio2020:  Biotechnology Entrepreneurs Seminar (Spring semester)

Biotech is science-based, but the risks of product and technology development, legal issues, and market pressures make the landscape full of uncertainty.  This second semester freshman seminar course provides students with an appreciation of how biotech companies achieve their goals by engaging students through interactions with experienced executives and entrepreneurs, whose shared knowledge and stories add depth and context to the learning process. 

Second Year

Bio3010: Biotech Project (Fall semester)

As a sophomore in the BEP, students participate in a team-oriented project development course.  Students apply skills learned during the first-year of the BEP to understand the process used to generate project ideas, write proposals, and evaluate concepts, apply peer evaluation at all steps of the process, and work individually and as a team for researching and developing projects.  Bio3010 is a writing-intensive course and satisfies the Arts & Sciences WI requirement.

Transition to Capstone Experiences Fellowship (Summer)

Students completing the BEP curriculum are eligible to apply for fellowships supporting summer activities that transition to upper-level synthesis/capstone experiences in their fields and based on their long-term career interests.