New free course by human genome pioneer Dr. Eric Lander announced

Massive open online course to share how genetics is transforming our understanding of human biology and disease.

CAMBRIDGE, MA, January 30, 2013 -- In the 1990's Dr. Eric Lander led the Human Genome Project's efforts to sequence the entire human genome; now he brings that wealth of experience to a unique new free course that will share how human genetics is answering some of the most difficult questions about human life at its most fundamental level. In the coming decades, scientists will be able to understand how cells are "wired" and how that wiring is disrupted in human diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer to schizophrenia.

The course, 7.00x Introductory Biology: "The Secret of Life", is slated to start March 5th, and registration is now open. In addition revealing the cutting edge of human genetics, the course also promises to be an innovative educational experience. Developed out of Professor Lander's 20 years of experience teaching MIT undergraduates, the course has been completely rethought and retooled, incorporating cutting-edge online interactive tools as well as community-building contests and milestone-based prizes.

"Introducing the freshman class of MIT to the basics of biology is exhilarating," said Lander. "Now, with this edX course, I look forward to teaching people around the world. There are no prerequisites for this course – other than curiosity and an interest in understanding some of the greatest scientific challenges of our time."

Lander's materials were also used in the creation of MIT OpenCourseWare's 7.01SC Fundamentals of Biology, one of our unique OCW Scholar courses. OCW Scholar courses provide MIT course materials in a self-guided format that can be accessed at any time, but do not include instructor support or recognition for completion.

In addition to Professor Lander's class, MIT has announced two additional new courses to be offered through edX, Electricity and Magnetism by Walter Lewin and The Challenges of Global Poverty from Esther Duflo. Introduction to Computer Science and Programming, Circuits and Electronics and Introduction to Solid State Chemistry, offered in 2012, are again available in 2013.

About Professor Lander

Dr. Eric Lander is President and Founding Director of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, a new kind of collaborative biomedical research institution focused on genomic medicine. Dr. Lander is also Professor of Biology at MIT and Professor of Systems Biology at the Harvard Medical School. In addition, Dr. Lander serves as Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, which advises the White House on science and technology. A geneticist, molecular biologist and mathematician, Dr. Lander has played a pioneering role in all aspects of the reading, understanding and medical application of the human genome. He was a principal leader of the international Human Genome Project (HGP) from 1990-2003, with his group being the largest contributor to the mapping and sequencing of the human genetic blueprint. Dr. Lander was an early pioneer in the free availability of genomic tools and information. Finally, he has mentored an extraordinary cadre of young scientists who have become the next generation of leaders in medical genomics. The recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees, Dr. Lander was elected a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1997 and of the U.S. Institute of Medicine in 1999.

About edX

EdX is a not-for-profit enterprise of its founding partners Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology focused on transforming online and on-campus learning through groundbreaking methodologies, game-like experiences and cutting-edge research. EdX provides inspirational and transformative knowledge to students of all ages, social status, and income who form worldwide communities of learners. EdX uses its open source technology to transcend physical and social borders. We’re focused on people, not profit. EdX is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the USA.

About MIT OpenCourseWare

MIT OpenCourseWare makes the materials used in the teaching of substantially all of MIT's undergraduate and graduate courses—more than 2,150 in all—available on the Web, free of charge, to any user in the world. OCW receives an average of 2 million website visits per month from more than 215 countries and territories worldwide. To date, more than 150 million individuals have accessed OCW materials.


Stephen Carson
External Relations Director
MIT OpenCourseWare