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FutureStream: Biology | Our Past Through Biomolecules

Biomolecules often preserve in them archeological records, revealing secrets that the naked eye cannot see. Through these molecular traces, we can piece together a scientific and holistic understanding of our collective past. In this live, certified course spanning four weekends, we develop a rich understanding of how biology and archaeology intersect to give us an evidence-based understanding of human evolution.

Designed for high schoolers (Grades 9-12), this course offers a university-level insight into the study of ancient molecules from human and non-human sources and their applications in real-world problem-solving.

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Dates Eligibility Fees 
Application deadline- Dec 10, 2023

Course dates– Sat, Dec 16, 2023-Sun, Jan 07,2024

16 Live Teaching Hours over 4 weekends (11AM- 1PM on Saturdays & Sundays). Self-study entails take-home assignments.

  • High schoolers studying in grades 9- 12 as on the course commencement date in Dec 2023.
  • Students from India and abroad can apply.
  • Students from all boards can apply.
  • Prerequisites: High level of proficiency in written and verbal English communication.
  • You will be required to submit your latest marksheet in the application form.
Rs 22,000/- +GST
*Refer to fees section of website for inclusions & exclusions

Who is this course for?

No prior experience is needed, students from any background can participate in this course, all we need is that you come with an open mind. It’s also ideal for high schoolers who want to study biological sciences, archaeology, or any kind of interdisciplinary discipline in college.

Prerequisites: High proficiency in written & spoken English. You will be required to submit your latest mark sheet in the application form.

What’s in it for me?

  1. Faculty Insights: Deepen your knowledge with expert lectures on molecular evolution and biogeochemical studies.
  2. Introduction to Ancient Genetics: Dive into genetics, understanding DNA, alleles, and chromosomes through Mendelian principles.
  3. Human Evolution and Migration: Engage in the narrative of human evolution, exploring genetic admixture, hybridization, and ancestral DNA.
  4. Molecular Insights into Past Practices: Delve into past food and climate practices using isotopes, uncovering Palaeodietary and Palaeoclimatic tales.
  5. ​​Peer Collaboration & Discussions: Collaborate in teams, analyzing molecular data and challenging interpretations.
  6. Hands-on Projects: Each course module offers an exciting take-home project to apply learnings using existing databases as well a final project using any one of the biomolecules.
  7. Expert Feedback: Receive invaluable critiques and insights from seasoned faculty and industry experts.
  8. Futuristic Perspectives: Envision the future of genetics, understanding its evolving role in decoding human history.

What do I take away?

By the end of this course, you will: 

  • Understand the critical interplay between biology and archaeology, appreciating their profound interconnectedness in tracing our past.
  • Get real-world and hands-on exposure to the vast application of ancient molecules from various human and non-human sources.
  • Develop a rich understanding of the story of human, environmental, and cultural evolution through the lens of biogeochemical studies.
  • Learn how advanced scientific research is carried out and the role science plays in real-world problem solving using existing data sets to reconstruct the past.
  • Be well-prepared for interdisciplinary studies in college, whether your interest lies in biological sciences, archaeology, or any kind of interdisciplinary studies in college.

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Session outline

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4
Lecture module What is so cool about ancient genetics: An introduction. The story of us: human evolution, dispersal and migration. From Beasts to Blessings: A molecular understanding of past food practice and climate. The future of genetic studies and their potential in unravelling other mysteries.
Project module Independent project on basics of mendelian genetics, and introduction to concepts like DNA, alleles, chromosomes, phenotype, and genotype etc. Independent project on concepts like ancestry, mitochondrial DNA and nuclear DNA. Independent project on the use of isotopes and other non-DNA molecules for Palaeoclimatic and dietary reconstruction. Final project (group or individual) to reconstruct some aspects of the past using existing databases.

Grading, Assessments & Certification

All Ashoka Horizons courses offer a certificate on satisfactory completion of the course. The 2 components of student assessment are-

  1. Three independent projects with the faculty (60%)
  2. A final project using any of the biomolecules (40%)

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IT Requirements

This course is administered through an online platform. Students are expected to have a foundational understanding of computer usage, including but not limited to sending emails and conducting Internet searches. Consistent access to the Internet and a computer that aligns with the recommended minimum specifications are also requisite for participation in the course.


Small cohorts. Apply early to secure your seat.


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Study at Ashoka