CPSC 261: Biotechnology in Agriculture

CPSC 261, Biotechnology in Agriculture, covers the science of biotechnology and its applications to agriculture, factors that influence the market success of innovations in this area, and their societal impacts.

“Biotechnology is an important component of agriculture, medicine, and many other industries. Our ability to isolate and modify genes and to move them across species barriers for designed purposes are powerful and promising, but only if the products of biotechnology benefit society,” says Professor Stephen Moose, instructor for the course. “This course explores the science of biotechnology, the commercialization of biotechnology products, and the impacts of using biotechnology on agriculture and global society.”

Students learn how advances in science and technology drive new innovation and have the opportunity to apply this knowledge to their own ideas. They also learn the importance of communicating effectively to all participants and stakeholders when new technologies are introduced.

“Beyond lectures, students engage in discussion about the topics taught during class, and they work in small teams to create a new biotechnology product that is presented to the entire class,” says Moose. “The class then chooses what they believe is the best project. Some of these past projects are now even being pursued as research projects.”

Throughout the semester Moose discusses the many diverse factors that influence biotechnology product development, including market opportunities, patents and intellectual property, and government regulation.

“I enjoy watching students learn the process by which ideas become commercial products, and although the class presents this in the context of agricultural biotechnology, the process applies broadly to any technology-driven field,” Moose says.

Continual Innovation Professor Stephen P. Moose