What you'll learn

  • Understand CRISPR Cas9 technology and its potential application in various industries like biofuel, agriculture, and healthcare
  • Argue about the applications of CRISPR in the biotechnology industry and how this will assist the development of disease-resistant cultivars, improve food yields, and allow biofuels to become a viable alternative energy source
  • Explore the possibilities of curing inherited genetic disorders, treating infectious diseases, such as HIV, and advancing the fight against cancer, by using real-world case studies
  • Discover the significant ways in which CRISPR can be applied to different kinds of businesses, and explore the market opportunities for investors and venture capitalists
  • Consider the ethical implications CRISPR genetic manipulation raises as the technology is developed

Course description

CRISPR shares the same space as Blockchain and IOT payments as one of the most disruptive innovations of recent years. Although still in its relative infancy, the global market of this gene-editing tool is expected to grow to approximately $10 billion by 2025.*

The CRISPR Gene-editing Applications online short course from Harvard’s Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning (VPAL), in association with HarvardX, provides decision makers and investors interested in the biotechnology industry with the opportunity to learn more about CRISPR in relation to various industries such as biotech, healthcare, and agriculture. You’ll also investigate the CRISPR gene-editing tool, sometimes referred to as CRISPR Cas9.

From combating cancer and optimizing agriculture, to treatment of genetic disease and ethical considerations, this genetic engineering course will give you an understanding of the CRISPR landscape and its future potential.

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

Associated Schools

  • Harvard Faculty of Arts & Sciences

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