Biotech Updates

USDA Helps Bring CRISPR to UH Students to Support Future Food and Agri Workforce

May 17, 2023

Through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the University of Hawaii (UH) Manoa will be expanding its CRISPR laboratory course capacity and providing workshops for students at other campuses with significant minority enrollment. The program aims to provide Hawaii's future workforce with knowledge about cutting-edge technologies to enhance the islands' food and agriculture capacity.

UH's CRISPR program will be offered to baccalaureate candidates and two-year postsecondary students in the UH system and other community colleges. The support from USDA which amounts to USD149,000 will help address educational disparities in Hawaii and develop agricultural land science literacy by building competencies in molecular biology, genetics, biotechnology, agricultural science, and science communication. The students will learn and practice genome editing technologies through formal hands-on training in designing and executing CRISPR experiments in microalgae, maize and mammalian cells – all of which were previously unavailable in UH. The program will also provide the teaching assistants with critical leadership, project management, and teaching skills.

The initiative also aims to encourage more appreciation for local agriculture and workforce development among the youth in Hawaii, as the islands are heavily dependent on food imports at the moment.

Read the news release from UH's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources and USDA for more details.

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