Campers, Time to Register for Summer Courses

Teaching Labs at the BTC Institute.
Teaching Labs at the BTC Institute.

As a parent, I have seen scores and scores of summer camp advertisements and announcements come my way. It’s a constant reminder that even though here in Madison it’s been hard to keep track of what month it is on account of the especially cold winter and spring, summer is coming!

It is time to get kids into camps and doing some great activities. So, while you’re checking out what opportunities your kids might have to play around and learn something interesting this summer, be sure to look into what opportunities you have as well.

The BTC Institute ( is a nonprofit organization located on the Promega Madison campus and dedicated, in part, to providing educational opportunities and hands-on learning experiences to support the biotechnology community. We have been offering courses since 1993 – that’s over 20 years of experience!

Our courses attract university students and scientists, but they are also appropriate for industry employees. In our workshops and course offerings, our goal is to help learners make concrete connections between technical content and laboratory techniques by doing hands-on science in our labs.

Here is a brief list of the courses we are offering this summer –

Neuroscience 675 : Molecular Approaches to Neuroscience (June 16-20; 9am-6pm): An introduction to basic molecular biology techniques including cloning, nucleic acid isolation, amplification and analysis; cell-based assays for studying cell death mechanisms and microscopy techniques are presented as well as approaches to studying kinase activity for drug discovery. Guest lectures augment the laboratory-focused, techniques-based curriculum.

Oncology 675 – 001: Core Techniques in Protein and Genetic Engineering (July 14-18; 9am-6pm): An advanced primer on molecular biology techniques; nucleic acid isolation, cloning tools and techniques, PCR technologies (PCR, RT-PCR, qPCR and qRT-PCR), plasmid purification, protein purification techniques, and Western blot form the backbone of this course. Additional topics are included as lectures to provide examples of applications.

Oncology 675 – 002: Emerging Techniques in Protein and Genetic Engineering (July 21-25; 9am-6pm): Focusing on transcription, translation and especially epigenetics, this course allows students to explore cutting edge techniques used to study molecular biology. Laboratory exercises include transfection and transfection efficiency, testing HDAC inhibitor potencies and analyzing cellular consequences of HDAC inhibition, cell health assessment and kinase inhibitor assays for drug profiling. Lectures will tentatively include discussion of deep sequencing and next-gen sequencing, pharmaceutical development, mass spectrometry for discovery, systems biology approaches to experimental design and others.

Computational Approaches to Analyzing Microarray Data (Wed, July 24 (start @ 5pm) – Sunday, July 28 (end @ 12pm): The over-arching goal of this program is to raise students’ abilities in applying fundamental statistics and bioinformatics methods to microarray data for efficient data mining. Participants run specific “hands on” examples and build self-sufficient competence using an open source software (R/Bioconductor) and a commercial package (ArrayStar) as “proof of concepts” to understand methods and algorithms presented in class.

Through our Molecular Technology Basics for the Non-Scientist series, we also offer one-day, introductory workshops throughout the year that are designed to help non-scientists understand the work of their scientific colleagues:

Please direct inquiries about the courses to Dr. Amy Prevost ( – we hope to see some of you this summer!

Also, visit our web site to see what else we’re doing at the BTC Institute- we have awesome summer programs for upper elementary and middle school students, teacher training courses, and other meetings and events – .

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Amy Prevost

Director, Scientific Courses at BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute
Amy Prevost received her doctorate from UW-Madison in 2012 in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Amy is a program director at the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTC Institute), a non-profit located on the Promega campus in Fitchburg, Wis., where she coordinates scientific programs for adult learners. She is also a project manager on a grant aimed at understanding student success in advanced manufacturing programs at two-year colleges with the Center on Education Research at UW Madison. Amy’s primary areas of interest in educational research include understanding educational pathways in STEM programs, improving student outcomes at the post-secondary and graduate levels – including access to careers, and trying to map elements of doctoral programs that contribute to students’ abilities to transfer knowledge.

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