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Explore Biotechnology
By Dr. Dina Ellsworth

Do you know that living organisms are being used to address problems of the world?  From diagnosing and fighting deadly diseases to increasing crop yields and reducing environmental impacts, biotechnology continues to revolutionize the way scientists approach the issues of our global society. 

Explore Biotechnology is a lab intensive course that will give participants hands-on training in the use of the most common tools and technologies associated with the field of biotechnology.   Students will learn and experiment with advanced, cutting-edge techniques such as DNA extraction, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and gel electrophoresis, which scientists frequently apply to the medical and agricultural fields. 

A capstone investigation will allow students to determine whether or not certain foods have a genetically modified component by combining multiple techniques taught throughout the course.

Did you attend Biotech Bootcamp last summer at Biotech High School?  There is about 50% overlap between our course and Biotech Bootcamp.  

However, The Stars Challenge course is smaller so there is more opportunity for hands-on work.  In addition, there is a lot of material presented in both courses and sometimes a little repetition helps one to completely absorb the material.


Dina Ellsworth, PhD
Science Faculty
High Technology High School

Lincroft, NJ

Dr. Ellsworth is a graduate of Swarthmore College where she earned a B.A. in Chemistry, with a concentration in Biophysical Chemistry. Dr. Ellsworth then went on to study at Princeton University, where she earned a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology. At Princeton, Dr. Ellsworth’s research focused on the regulation of gene expression in viruses. She uncovered a novel mechanism of controlling genes in an oncogenic (cancer causing) virus so that the virus could be switched off without affecting human cells. Dr. Ellsworth’s work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and has been presented at research symposiums around the world.

Dr. Ellsworth has also worked in the pharmaceutical industry and has published work related to her research in enzymology. Dr. Ellsworth also spent 10 years working with pharmaceutical companies as a medical writer and with educational publishers to write and edit science texts and curricula.

In the fall of 2015, Dr. Ellsworth joined the staff at Biotechnology High School and moved to High Technology High School in the fall of 2016 in order to further develop High Tech’s biology and bioengineering program. She is currently teaching AP Biology, and Bioengineering and Environmental Sustainability, and is developing a course in biomedical engineering for High Tech’s engineering program. Dr. Ellsworth’s lab skills in molecular biology, genetics, developmental and cell biology, and chemistry has been valuable in exposing her students to current biotechnology and bioengineering techniques.

Outside of science and engineering, Dr. Ellsworth enjoys gardening, reading, taking care of animals, and spending time with her family of six.