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Medical Genomics Program

Merritt College Opens New Genomics Lab and Offers Certificate Programs



With brand new lab facilities and classrooms, Merritt College is offering a Certificate of Achievement in Medical Genomics and a shorter-term Certificate of Proficiency in DNA Sequencing that will put students at the forefront of this exciting field. The new 5,000-square-foot laboratory located at 860 Atlantic Ave. in Alameda, CA is equipped with more than $2 million of state-of-the-art equipment. The new facility gives students access to relevant high-tech devices providing them with a means for practical experience. The Genomics certificate can be completed in as little as four semesters. The first class began Spring 2013 and new classes are scheduled for the following summer and fall semesters.

What is Medical Genomics? 
Genomics is the most predominant aspect of biology concerned with the interaction of DNA in a cell with the processes that occur in a cell and your own body. This includes the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genomes and processes all at once.

Merritt College’s novel Genomics Program is based upon Next-Generation and Third-Generation DNA sequencing and is designed to provide employees for the growing Genomics industry in the United States. At Merritt, students are offered a unique opportunity to study DNA from a medical perspective. Genetic variation known as SNP (single nucleotide ploymorphism) detection and genetic disease detection are emphasized. Mastery of sample preparation, operation of standard equipment and analysis of DNA will be emphasized. The program will:
• Provide access to modern equipment used by the Genomics industry as a means for practical experience and personal research.
• Provide needed skill sets to students to fulfill biotech, forensic, and medical jobs of the present and future.
• Provide on-the-job training to ensure that our students are the best-qualified people in a well-paying job market.
• Partner with industry and training according to industry needs, ensuring that the biotechnology component of the Bay Area economy continues to grow, providing jobs for the future.

Is Genomics a growing industry?
Several indications lead to Genomics and related bioinformatics being among the fastest job growth areas. Experts expect Genomics to increase at an astounding compound annual growth rate of 26.9% through 2015 and beyond, and the related Bioinformatics segment to increase at a rate of 19.3% (for comparison, general science and technology areas have been growing at about 7.9% during the recession, while many non-science and technology fields have been contracting).

New DNA sequencing technologies are continuing to emerge that are radically changing the structure of medicine and biotechnology and opening up exciting new applications. Contributing to the rise of these new sequencing technologies are advances in (1) Nanotechnology, (2) Microfluidics, (3) Imaging, (4) Enzymology, and (5) Bioinformatics. DNA sequencing is a strategic Genomics tool that allows us to study how the genome varies among individuals and how that variation correlates to disease. DNA sequencing technologies are a critical part of today’s life-science industry, affecting a wide range of medical and other commercial activities from drug discovery to diagnostics, revolutionizing anything that has to do with biology from A to Z (Agriculture to Zoology). The sequencing industry is undergoing major shifts in technology, applications, and markets that will change how Genomics is done in the future. We have an Advisory Board from industry, government, and academia to ensure that our training remains relevant. (Go to:

What background do I need to start the program? 
Our Genomics Program is particularly relevant for those who have fulfilled or partially fulfilled requirements for Allied Health careers, since many of the pre-requisites are the same; some knowledge of Biology, which can be Intro to Bio (Bio 10), General Biology (Bio 1a and/or 1b), AP high school biology, Anatomy Bio 2, Physiology Bio 4, or Microbiology Bio 3. We are emphasizing Medical Genomics, because it is becoming clear that the field of Genomics is the new medicine. Hospitals are dramatically expanding their use of DNA sequencing not only for detection of genetic diseases, but also for identification of pathogens and targeted treatments.

What career opportunities are available?
Everything that is living has DNA and is therefore pertinent to this area. Technicians in the following fields as follows: (1) Pharmacology, (2) Forensics, (3) Agriculture, (4) Disease Detection, (5) Food Pathogen Detection, (6) Water Quality, (7) Biofuels, (8) Waste Management, (9) Toxic Waste Site Clean-up, (10) Cancer Research, (11) Progressive Genetic Disease Research (such as Alsheimers), (12) Genetic Counseling, (13) Tracking the History of Life, (14) Conservation, (15) Forestry, and (16) Computer Science.

What is the curriculum to earn each Certificate? 
The curriculum for each Certificate is listed below (the number of units are  next to each class).  The classes are acceptable for credit at CSUs.

Curriculum for Illumina Certificate of Proficiency
Semester 1

BIOSC 30 Genomics Theory 4
BIOSC 32 Good Lab Practices in Genomics 1
Subtotal 5

Semester 2
BIOSC 40 DNA Shearimg Techiques 1
BIOSC 37 Principles of Long PCR 1
BIOSC 33 Research design in Genomics 1
Subtotal 6

Semester 3
BIOSC 72 DNA Sequencing with Illumina 3
BIOSC 34 Writing for the Scientific Journal 1
BIOSC 90 Internship in Genomics 1-3 units
Subtotal 5

TOTAL 16 units

Curriculum for Medical Genomics Certificate of Achievement
CHEM 30A Introductory General Chemistry                                        4
CHEM 30B Introductory Organic and Biochemistry                            4
BIOL 4 Human Physiology 5
BIOSC 30 Genomics Theory 4
BIOSC 42 Mining GenBank 3
BIOSC 32 Good Laboratory Practices in Genomics 1
BIOSC 31 Practical Genomics 4
BIOSC 37 Principles of Long Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) 1
BIOSC 40 DNA Shearing Techniques for Shotgun Sequencing in Genomics 3
BIOSC 35 Microrobotics 5
BIOSC 60 Personalized (Desk-Top) Sequencing 3
BIOSC 33 Research Design in Genomics 1
BIOSC50 Genetic Diseases 4
BIOSC51 Medical Genomics 3
BIOSC90 Internship in Genomics 3
BIOSC61 Sequence Analysis Using MacVector 1
BIOSC62 Methodologies in Phylogenetics Using PAUP 1
BIOSC63 Introduction to Character Tracing Using MacClade 1

Total 49 units

Who teaches the Genomics classes?
Our instructors are renowned experts and entrepreneurs in the Genomics field. See their bios and contact information listed below:

Dr. J. Robert Macey, Director and instructor of Merritt’s Genomics Program, is an internationally renowned biologist with concentration on Evolutionary Biology at the integration of Genomics and Plate Tectonics. His research is largely Asian-based having been the first western biologist to work in western China and Soviet Central Asia, as well as the first western biologist to work in Iran following the Islamic Revolution. Research areas concentrate on phylogenetics, biogeography, evolution of the mitochondrial genome, and BAC (bacterial artificial chromosome) library creation with the nuclear genome. He has published 45 scientific papers, two book chapters and three book reviews. Prior to joining Merritt College in 2006, he was a Scientist at the DOE Joint Genome Institute and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
Contact:, 510-232-1764

Dr. Hank Fabian considers himself a generalist in the biological sciences with 20 years of experience teaching a variety of biology and natural history classes. During the past 13 years at Merritt College, he’s taught Human Anatomy and Physiology and Biology. With a master’s degree in Agronomy and a doctorate in Biology, he earlier branched out in other areas to gather wider experiences in the field: He’s been a crop geneticist, a scholar of Native American religion, and a commercial cut flower grower. But, he says, his most important role has been as a teacher. As part of Merritt’s Genomics program, he has been instrumental in creating the pedagogy for the courses and developing the new curriculum. With new opportunities arising in Genomics every day, he feels fortunate to be part of this program that meets the needs of the Genomics industry while training Merritt’s students to be top technicians and researchers. In what he calls “the golden age of Genomics,” he says he is honored to be part of an amazing group of scientists and instructors that are rarely seen at a community college.
Contact:, 510-436-2616 (best to use email).

Dr. Brian Rowning combines his unique expertise in molecular, cell, developmental and cancer biology with advanced imaging skills. He is active in Merritt College’s Genomics, Microscopy and Histotechnology programs and is excited about the possibilities for transforming biomedical education, strengthening regional scientific and technological capabilities and expanding student employment opportunities. He has worked as a Scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (LBNL) and UC Berkeley, and he did postdoctoral research at LBNL and at the University of Washington’s Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Seattle. He has published in leading scientific journals on the roles of cytoskeletal mechanisms and critical signaling pathways in cellular dynamics, body pattern formation and cancer. His research interests include comparative signaling pathways in body plan formation and disease, organelle characterization and function, the neurobiology of behavior and evolutionary Genomics, and the interface between Genomics and imaging technologies for assays and engineering of cells and tissues.
Contact: Room D218 Merritt College.

What is Profile Genomics?
Profile Genomics is the advanced Production and Biotech Services arm of the Merritt College Genomics Program. It’s a cutting edge service provider for the biotechnology industry and research institutions. We are an ideal research partner with an expert staff and the flexibility to customize any project. We feature industry leading technology and a rapid turnaround.

Profile Genomics currently offers Cryogenic Tissue Extraction, DNA Shearing, Pippin Prep DNA size selection, Microarray Slide Preparation and Scanning, and Robotic Colony Picking services. We are expanding rapidly and adding new services and technologies to our pipeline.

Profile Genomics
860 Atlantic Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501
(510) 629-1DNA (1362)