Starts March 27, 5-week course

Saturdays - 10AM to 11AM ET

Recommended age: Middle Schoolers

In this course, students will learn about the role of genetics in cancer and how to conduct research identifying key genetic biomarkers using public tools and databases. Genetic mutations can often lead to wide variation in cancer prognosis, and understanding the impact of genes allows researchers to unveil the mysteries of cancer and move closer towards potential treatments. Presented by miRcore, a nonprofit research organization that seeks to provide people with the resources and abilities to conduct research that matters to them, this course will provide students with the skills to conduct further research in bioinformatics and join miRcore in the future.


  1. Cancer and Genetics: Students will learn causes, treatment, social impact, and the genetics of cancer through The Cancer Genome Atlas.​​

  2. Importance of DNA: Students will learn what DNA is and its role in the human body through the UCSC Genome Browser.

  3. SNPs and Research: Students will learn what SNPs are and how they can be used to understand cancer through the UCSC Genome Browser.

  4. Genes and Survival Rate: Students will learn about the Survival Curve and use CDC Data to understand how genes coordinate with one another.

  5. Conducting Research: Students will learn the elements of the research question and process 

  6. Presentation: Students will present their research findings


This course will be a combination of lecture, discussion, and application.

  1. Before class, students will read an assigned article or watch an assigned video to prepare for class. 

  2. During class, we will be going over the theme of the week as well as teaching students how to use the tools.

  3. Students and parents will communicate with each other and the teacher through email, group text, and Wechat. Notes and resources will be stored on a password-protected part of the website, but students should take their own notes as well if it helps them learn.

  4. Students will design a project all by themselves through the guidance of teachers and mentors.


Mori Ono is a high school senior from Michigan and is the President of the miRcore Volunteer Program. As a miRcore volunteer and an attendee of the Garcia Research Scholar Program at Stony Brook University, his research experience has focused on bioinformatics and bioprinting. He is also a 2018 first prize winner of the Space Settlement Contest and the Founder and President of his school’s Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) chapter. Long-term, Mori hopes to bring together multidisciplinary insights for a democratized space development effort dedicated to worldwide societal benefit.  



  1. You should be self-motivated. Only a bit of preparation work will be required out of consideration for everyone’s unique schedule. This means it will be up to you to take advantage of the assignments, resources, and instructors provided.

  2. This class is about bioinformatics, or using computational tools to solve biology related problems. We ask you to think creatively and critically about the content and problems provided to you. Don’t be afraid to speak up, ask questions, and share interesting articles you find pertaining to the material!

  3. Be mature. The group chat should be used for interesting discussions and sharing your passions. No inappropriate messages.