Course summary

CRISPR, one of the powerful scientific stories of the decade, has the potential to revolutionise several areas of biology including medicine and agriculture. Notably CRIPSR is emerging as a rapid diagnostic tool. Due to its simplicity and reproducibility, CRISPR genome engineering could be used successfully  to accelerate both basic and applied research in diseases. The Genome Engineering lab at the University of Westminster aims to explore the potential of CRISPR Cas9 technology to combat cancer treatment. We are intensively involved in training Doctoral and graduate students and have successfully applied CRISPR technology to generate several cellular models to study DNA replication dyamics in cancers.

The course will provide insights in to the basics of CRISPR gene – editing and hands-on training in human cell engineering using the robust CRISPR Cas9 system. We will also introduce the attendees to successful sgRNA design and analysis strategies and the state-of-art methods that could be used to address their own genome engineering needs.

This CRISPR beginners course is aimed at graduate students and scientists with a good understanding of cellular and molecular biology and interest in human genome editing. The course is relevant for researchers venturing into genome engineering for the first time.

Course structure

This introductory course is structured as a combination of lectures and lab sessions. Our experienced academics and researchers will guide you through generating a knockout and knock in model system using CRISPR/Cas9. In this course we will first introduce you to the general work flow of human genome engineering including the expected timescales to complete a project. We will also discuss the different stages from design of guides to analysis of editing efficiency both in lectures and in the laboratory sessions.

Lectures include:

  • Introduction to basics of CRISPR/Cas9 genome engineering and applications
  • The Genome Engineering lab work flow of human gene-editing
  • Strategies for successful optimal target-specific guide RNA (gRNA) design- discussion of pros and cons of other methods
  • DNA repair systems and CRISPR
  • Case Study: Living a CRISPR dream – Application of CRISPR in characterization of a  newly identified cancer driver gene
  • Mini workshop: An opportunity to benefit from the expertise to design your first genome editing experiment

Hands-on laboratory sessions include:

  • Generation of knockout/Knock in human cellular models by plasmid delivery using transfections and electroporation
  • Determination of editing efficiency by Genomic PCRs and sequence analysis and mismatch T7 endonuclease cleavage assay

Learning outcomes

Specific skills you will learn include:

  • Knowledge of a simple straight forward work flow to generate CRISPR tools
  • Efficient selection and design of guide RNA (gRNA)
  • Delivery of CRIPSR tool in human cells, transfection
  • Validation of genome editing in engineered cells

Attendees will receive a detailed course guide containing all lecture materials, laboratory protocols and troubleshooting tips.

Course information

Our tutor

Dr Kalpana Surendranath is a Lecturer and the leader of the Genome Engineering Lab at the University of Westminster. Her lab focuses on understanding the links between DNA replication stress and cancer. She is an expert in CRISPR/Cas9 technology and has successfully used them in her research projects. She is currently the director of doctoral studies for 2 PhD students and  co-supervisor for 2 PhD students. Kalpana is a Fellow of Higher Education Academy, and the winner of Westminster learning and teaching excellence individual award in 2019. She recently won the Vice-Chancellor's Westminster Award for her exceptional contributions to research and teaching.

Her lab won Royal Society of Biology's Top project award, the125 fund, Co-creators award and Genetics Society summer studentship in 2017-2019. She is a member of Royal Society of Biology, Genetics Society and British Society of Cell and Gene therapy. As a London STEM ambassador, she has led outreach activities in primary/secondary schools, focusing on promoting the basics of cell biology to school pupils. She has organized highly successful workshops “A DAY OUT WITH DNA“ for various school children in London.


The course is registered as an IBMS CPD approved professional activity. An attendance certificate will be issued and may be used for CPD purposes together with a reflective account of the session.



Course session times:

Tuesday: 9.30am–7pm

Wednesday: 9.30am–6pm

Thursday: 9.30am–4.30pm

Start date


Tuesday – Thursday


9.30am start


3 days




This course is taught at our Cavendish Campus in central London, within easy walking distance of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road.

 Accessibility: Together with AccessAble, we have created online Disabled Access Guides for our buildings.