Molecular Biology & Biochemistry High School Outreach Programs
Verheyen Lab Tour & Discussion
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry research aims to understand how molecules work and learn their roles in cells and organisms. In the Verheyen lab researchers are interested in how cells grow and talk to each other during animal development. They are particularly interested in what happens when this communication stops working so that cells grow out of control and form cancers. Researchers study how cancer develops using the fruit fly as a model organism. In this lab tour, students will see how a tiny fly can be used to study the basis of cancers, and how we can learn valuable information through genetics, biochemistry and cell biology.
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Mitosis/Asexual Reproduction (Science 9)
What do your intestines, and a developing salamander have in common with each other? They both have cells that are constantly undergoing mitosis! This cell cycle is vital to sustaining life and growth as it essentially renews cells.
The second topic of this workshop is mitosis. In this lab, students will get to observe a live hydra underneath a compound light microscope and interact with it as it undergoes budding. Students will also use modelling clay to demonstrate and learn about the different stages of mitosis.
- Mitosis should be taught to students beforehand as this is a complex topic and certain stages can be confusing. The workshop introduction will only very briefly go over this.
- Students do NOT need to learn meiosis before attending this lab, but it is strongly recommended that they understand that meiosis is only for gametic production and mitosis is for somatic cells. Meiosis is also where genetic diversity is generated.
- Asexual reproduction should be taught as background knowledge before this lab. The introduction will have a brief review of asexual reproduction/mitosis.
- Solidify knowledge about mitosis using modelling clay. Students generally learn better when material is hands on.
- Learn how to use a compound light microscope
- Be able to describe budding, and binary fission when observed under a microscope.
Plasmid DNA Extraction & Purification (Biology 12)
DNA is the molecule in all living things and is considered the code for life. When we talk about DNA we are usually referring to genomic or chromosomal DNA, however, bacteria are unique and can carry both genomic DNA and plasmid DNA. In this lab, we will be isolating plasmids from bacteria and discussing the differences between genomic and plasmid DNA.
- Genomic DNA extraction lab. This is usually done with fruit or some sort of vegetable. Here is a brief protocol on it: http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/labs/extraction/howto/
- Definition of prokaryotes (This was taught in junior sciences and also in Biology 11)
- How DNA replicates. Students will need to have basic knowledge of the origin of replication, DNA Polymerase III, proofreading, base pairing etc.
- Students will be using a QIAGEN miniprep plasmid kit to do the lab and will acquire basic microbiology lab skills (using a centrifuge, pipetting, labelling eppendorf tubes correctly)
- The difference between a plasmid and chromosomal or genomic DNA
- Advantages/Disadvantages of having a plasmid and types of genes usually found on a plasmid
- How a plasmid is replicated
- How humans can use plasmids for genetic engineering