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Sicily, Italy

Contemporary Biology: Biotechnology Applied to Historical Conservation

Course Number: 
Semester(s) Offered: 
Summer 2019
Credit Hours: 

Advanced discussion of selected topics. This course is repeatable for credit.

What is the value of taking this course in Sicily?
This course will include lectures, some laboratory experiences as well as guided visits to relevant historic sites around Sicily.

Students will explore biotechnology applied to the conservation of cultural assets in Sicily. The course is focused on the application of biotechnological protocols to reveal and characterize microbial "biodeterioration" of historic-artistic manufacts. Moreover, biotechnology can play an important role in the identification, isolation and application of bioactive molecules useful in artwork "biocleaning" procedures or to control microbial colonization acting as "biocide". During the academic track scientific disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, geology and biotechnology are developed conceptually and applied in the laboratory.

Students will gain theoretic and manual skills in the use of biotechnology for artifact preservation and restoration, and they will participate in visits to archaeological sites where field work will be demonstrated. The course has no prerequisites, however, typically sophomores and juniors studying biology, chemistry, biochemistry and other related disciplines would be the most ideal participant. Students from other majors in engineering or architecture could be qualified.

There will be three type of lectures: in class lectures, applied work lectures in the laboratory and on site lectures with class visits to major artistic and historical sites. Students will be engaged in one of these activities for 4-5 days a week.

Special Notes: 

Repeatability: This course may be repeated for additional credit.