Online Course for High School Students

Personalized Medicine: Customizing Care Through Genetics

Mapping health through DNA

Why do some people respond well to certain therapies while others do not? If a parent has a particular disease, what are your chances of getting it? This course will unlock the mysteries of human genetics and connect specific patterns to traits and diseases. Learn about how the breakthroughs in Personalized Medicine are being used to create tests and treatments more precisely targeted than ever before. Study genomic sequencing. Practice reading gene data. Identify mutations that cause disease. Discover how genomic information makes you unique. Step into the brave new world of tomorrow’s medicine. If you’re thinking about taking pre-med in college or are interested in STEM, this course is for you.

New this summer: Enjoy all the features of our Personalized Medicine course PLUS live sessions on weekdays. These structured events will include guest speakers, group mentors, and interaction with classmates. To select this option, choose +Live when you apply.

Apply Now

Program Dates

 Multiple 2- and 4-week sessions


For students ages 13+


$995, $1295 for +Live

Learn how the genetic alphabet makes every person unique

Learn the basics of genetic code

Understand how the variation of simple gene sequences (A, C, G, T) create the vast diversity of human traits from hair color to susceptibility to particular diseases. Find out how some traits are passed on and what determines if you will inherit a particular disease.

Discover the power of a single gene variation

Did you know that some of the size difference between a chihuahua and a wolf can be explained by variation in a single gene in their genomic sequence? Discover how a small mutation can have a major effect.

When you take a popular genetic test, are you getting your money’s worth?

How valuable and accurate is the information you get from off-the-shelf genetic tests? Understand the how, the what and the why of obtaining personal genomic sequences.

Explore the genetic breakthroughs that are changing medicine

Learn about the new precision treatments made possible by understanding an individual’s specific genetic makeup. See how particular genes make a person more or less resistant to particular diseases.

Delve into the genetics of cancer and aging 

Understand how genetic testing such as BRCA enables patients to make treatment decisions that can prolong life.  Discover the relation between aging, cancer and genetics.

Custom medicine: Stem cell therapy, gene editing, designing traits

Study the incredible power of using stem cell therapy for once untreatable diseases. Gain insight into the potential of Personal Medicine for prolonging life and even modifying traits.

Designer babies? Super humans? Examine the ethics of genetic medicine

How far should we go in modifying nature? Is it just if life extension therapies are only available to those who can afford them? What ethical issues are involved in stem cell treatments?

Prepare for a future in medicine or STEM

Topics covered in this course offer a good background for high schoolers interested in pre-med or a STEM-related field in the sciences.

Final project: Become a “gene doctor”

Then, you will look at a particular disease from a genetic standpoint and discuss how Personalized Medicine could be used to treat it.

Skills you will gain from this course

  • You will comprehend the basics of genetic code
  • You will gain insight into how your own genetic inheritance makes you unique
  • You will be able to discuss the way advances in stem cell therapies and genetic editing can treat serious disease and prolong life
  • You will acquire a keen understanding of the ethical issues raised by scientific advances
  • You will practice preparing written, visual and video presentations
  • You will be able to assess if medicine or a STEM-related field is a what you’d like to study in college

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3 learning advantages designed for you

1. Flexible Learning

  • 100% online, works with your schedule
  • 20-25 hours of total instruction and course work, including engaging multimedia, simulations, and curated assignments for which you will receive guidance and support
  • Engage with fellow students from around the world

2. Mentoring

You’ll receive guidance from a mentor who can support you and answer questions as you deepen your learning experience. You can expect: 

  • Encouragement and direction on all assignments
  • Inspiration, motivation and confidence to help you succeed
  • Brainstorming and ideation help as you prepare for your final Capstone project

3. Final Capstone Project

The course culminates with a special Capstone project that allows you to: 

  • Demonstrate what you’ve learned in this course
  • Get feedback from your mentors on your work
  • Use video, text or PowerPoint presentation to complete your project

Apply now for the next available course

December 19 - January 2

Personalized Medicine: Customizing Care through Genetics

Length: 2 weeks

Cost: $995

Application Deadline: Sunday, December 12, 2021

March 6 - April 3

Personalized Medicine: Customizing Care through Genetics

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: $995

Application Deadline: Sunday, February 27, 2022

April 3 - May 1

Personalized Medicine: Customizing Care through Genetics

Length: 4 weeks

Cost: $995

Application Deadline: Sunday, March 27, 2022

All course options, whether 2 or 4 weeks, have the identical educational content, learning materials, and number of assignments. The difference in length of course is due to time of year (not amount of instruction). We know the school year keeps you busy, so we’ve made the course longer during that time so that you can get assignments done.

Hear from our students

Being able to learn about techniques of personalized medicine that I've only heard about on the news such as CRISPR, GWAS, was incredible! Drs. Stein and Presgraves were also incredible teachers who were evidently passionate about the subject. Overall, it was a memorable experience, and I will surely use the information I learned in the years to come.

Uma, personalized medicine student from VA

The formatting of the course is very professional and easy to follow. The mentors are so kind and helpful, even devoting extra time to offer specific suggestions on assignments for improvement. Anyone who wants to be pushed in learning more about medicine should take it!

Emily, personalized medicine student from KY

Course designed by:

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Alexis Stein, PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Rochester

Dr. Alexis Stein received her PhD from the University of Rochester. Her research utilized molecular genetics to study the mechanisms that underlie how mitochondrial DNA is repaired in the cell. Her research has been published in several journals. Dr. Stein developed and runs the undergraduate laboratory courses in general biology and biochemistry. She also shares her passion for genetics with her students in her Principles of Genetics course.

Decorative: Headshot of Danielle Presgraves

Danielle Presgraves, PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Rochester 

Dr. Presgraves is an Assistant Professor of Instruction in the Department of Biology at the University of Rochester. She has undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology from the University of Calgary and a PhD from Harvard in Biology. Dr. Presgraves was a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University where she contributed analysis to the 1000 genomes project. Her research focuses on the importance of data interpretation. She teaches courses in Biostatistics, and Introduction to Programming Languages. Her goal is to help students understand how to utilize these modern tools and grasp both their limits and promise.

Meet the Mentors

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Undergraduate student at the University of Rochester double majoring in Neuroscience and Psychology. As a member of the Rochester Early Medical Scholars (REMS) program, she's also on the pre-med track. Additionally, she serves as a member of the on-campus EMT organization, a member of the Neuroscience/Brain and Cognitive Science Council, and as the business manager for the Society of Undergraduate Biology Students.

Decorative: Headshot of mentor, Jocelyn


Undergraduate student at the University of Rochester studying Genetics. She volunteers for the STEM Initiative, aiming to inspire students in Rochester elementary and middle schools to pursue studies and careers in the STEM fields.

Decorative: Headshot of mentor, Shalaka


Undergraduate student at the University of Rochester majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Ethics as part of the Rochester Early Medical Scholars Program (REMS).

Decorative: Headshot of mentor, Vidhya


Undergraduate student at the University of Rochester double majoring in Neuroscience and Health Policy. She is also a member of the Rochester Early Medical Scholars Program (REMS).

Decorative: Headshot of mentor, Jenna


PhD student in Molecular Biology focused on neurodegenerative disorders at the University of Rochester. Graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2013 with a degree in Biology.

Student working at her computer

How to Apply

It’s easy. No transcripts or letters of recommendation are required. Our application will ask you to provide the following:

  1. Basic contact information for you and your parent or guardian.
  2. Why you wish to take this course. You can tell your story through writing, video, photos — any media you prefer. NOTE: Please submit all application materials in English.

Begin the guided process. It should take only a few minutes of your time to answer the questions.

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Want to know more?

Sign up for more information and we’ll be in touch.

Earn Your Certificate of Completion from the University of Rochester

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We offer need-based scholarships in each cohort to students exhibiting high potential who need assistance affording the associated cost. If you would like to be considered for a scholarship but you: