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Cancer: Exploring the Mysteries of Metastasis

Program dates: check-in June 21, class June 22-25

Cost: $680

Course description

Cancer arises when abnormal cells of the body grow out of control, resulting in the formation of tumors. What makes cancer so deadly is the spread of the abnormal cells away from the tumor to other areas of the body, a process known as metastasis.

In order to better understand how cancer works, scientists study cancer by growing cancer cells in vitro (in a petri dish)

In this course, students will conduct cancer research by studying cancer cells in vitro using different types of microscopes and other state-of-the-art laboratory equipment. By doing so, students will be able to measure processes related to cancer cell growth and metastasis.

Students will design and perform various experiments, collect data and interpret results. Although the bulk of this course will be spent in the laboratory, short lectures and discussions will be used to introduce concepts in order to better understand cancer. Studying the biology related to the development, growth, and spread of cancers in vitro is critical in order to develop treatments that target cancer cells. 

scott gehler and troy larson
Dr. Scott Gehler (top) and Dr. Troy Larson

Instructors: Dr. Scott Gehler and Dr. Troy Larson

Dr. Scott Gehler is an associate professor of biology at Augustana College. He earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and then conducted post-doctoral research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying breast cancer.

He believes one of the best ways to learn about science is hands-on in the laboratory. In this way, students are able to better understand ideas through working on problems that are relevant to their interests during the research process.

In other courses, Dr. Gehler helps students understand how cells "talk" to each other (cell biology), teaches how stress influences blood glucose levels (human physiology), and shows how cancer hijacks normal cells (cancer biology).

To say Dr. Gehler geeks out in the classroom, the lab, or through random conversations is an understatement.

Dr. Troy Larson is professional faculty at Augustana and an assistant professor of biology.

He earned a B.A. at Augustana College, a M.S. from Bradley University, and a Ph.D. from Illinois State University. At Augustana, Dr. Larson teaches courses ranging from introductory biology and genetics to an advanced course in cell signaling.