Short descriptions of the two required courses are listed below, and updates can be found on the BMB course website.

Course: BMB 961 Sect 003 "Plant Biotechnology for Health and Sustainability"
Semester offered: Spring
Credits: 3
Restrictions: Approval of the Instructor
Prerequisites: Basic knowledge in molecular biology, genomics, or plant biochemistry as demonstrated by having completed at least one of the following graduate level classes: BMB 801, BMB 961 (Genomics), BMB 864, or BMB 856
Prerequisites: Basic knowledge in molecular biology, genomics, or plant biochemistry as demonstrated by having completed at least one of the following graduate level classes: BMB 801, BMB 961 (Genomics), BMB 864, or BMB 856
Description: This course is part of an interdisciplinary effort to foster opportunities for graduate students with interest in plant biotechnology. A broad overview of the state-of-the art of plant biotechnology and related fields will be provided. In addition, students are encouraged to think about concepts and ideas that can be potentially commercialized. Special emphasis will be on plant metabolic pathways that impact human health and nutrition, as well as sustainability in the production of food and fuels from plants and algae. Examples and case studies will be discussed that cover input and output traits, as defined in the first session. Examples are chosen to explain in simple terms basic engineering principles, including synthetic biology approaches to generate, analyze, and optimize transgenic plants or algae. Some of the chosen examples will be particularly suited to discuss regulatory and commercial issues related to genetically modified organisms (GMOs). To actively participate in the course, students need to have a basic understanding of molecular biology, genomics, or plant biochemistry, and are expected to read background and original research papers as assigned. Students will be asked to develop a 3-page brochure presenting a scientific idea for a plant biotechnology based product or process with a recognized need or new opportunity. The students will need to clearly lay out the idea, present reasonable milestones and be aware of potential technical, commercial, or societal hurdles, and articulate how the proposed technology would address the need or opportunity. A list of potential topics will be provided during the first lecture from which students can choose, or students can develop their own topic idea. Guidance and feedback will be provided by the instructor(s) to the students on an individual base as they develop a draft. During the final five sessions of the semester, students will be asked to pitch their idea in a 10 min presentation, followed by feedback from the entire group.
NOTE: To reserve a spot in this course, you will first need to contact Dr. Christoph Benning at and indicate what prerequisite course(s) you have taken and you'll also need to complete the BMB Course Override link. This course will meet every Tuesday and Thursday of the Spring semester from 9-10:20am in room 1030 Molecular Plant Sciences Building (MPS)
Syllabus: Spring 2015 (PDF)   
Course: BMB 960 Sect 301 "Plant Biotechnology Research Forum"
Description: Selected topics in Biochemistry with substantial student presentations
Semester(s) offered: Fall (First 7-8 weeks of the semester)
Credits: 1
Restrictions: Restricted to Biochemistry Graduate Students or Approval of the Instructor
Description:  Sec 301-Topic: Plant Biotechnology Research Forum. An advanced seminar focusing on reading of the literature and student presentations on topics related to plant biotechnology. Topic areas include the use of systems-level and metagenomic approaches to better understand plant biology, particularly as it relates to the bioprospecting and engineering of plants and microalgae for modern problems in human health and environmental sustainability. The course is part of the training program in plant biotechnology 'Plants for Health and Sustainability'. Goals for the course include increasing competence in reading scientific literature and oral presentation skills, and to prepare students for engagement in the affiliated Annual Plant Biotechnology Symposium. IMPORTANT: Attendance of the Symposium on October 21-22 2016 (other dates in future years) is a required activity of the course (Students not participating in the training program are also eligible to participate). Class will run during the first half of Fall Semester and typically meets in the Anton Lang Room (#103) which is located in the Plant Biology Research Laboratory Building. If you are not a declared Biochemistry graduate student, you will need to submit the online override request form found here: 
Enrollment will be limited to 15 students.