Garrison Forest AP Biology class's recent field trip tested the very essence of the students' DNA. Literally.
Using the laboratory resources available in a college science lab, seven GFS students conducted two experiments at Goucher College on January 27, under the supervision of Upper School science teacher Reema Khanchandani.
In one experiment, students amplified the PV92 locus of student DNA (taken from cheek cell samples) on chromosome 16, which has no known phenotype. Then, students took the amplified DNA and ran it on gel electrophoresis to determine the size of the amplified DNA, and therefore, the genotypes of the students. In the second experiment, students measured the sizes of cut bacteriophage Lamda DNA.
Check out the experiments in this video.
After working in the lab, Ms. Khanchandani took the students on a tour of the Goucher Science Building to show them various teaching labs. “For most of the students, this was an opportunity to see what science at the college-level looks like,” says Ms. Khanchandani, a graduate of Goucher’s Biological Sciences program. “They were excited to use equipment that most high schools do not have.”
Senior Naya Frazier appreciated the lab’s practical applications. “PCR and gel electrophoresis are biotechnologies with applications in diagnostics, forensics, and genetic engineering,” she notes. “Being able to experiment with this technology gave what we learned in class a whole new meaning outside of the textbook pages."
Added Senior Julie Stellmann, "I liked using the fancy equipment such as the thermocycler and having a real lab experience. The labs at Goucher reminded me of the lab I worked in last summer at Hopkins.” (In summer 2011, Julie had an internship at Johns Hopkins Hospital with Dr. Justin Hanes, a research doctor with the renowned Wilmer Eye Institute. She assisted Dr. Hanes on drug delivery/ biomedical research.)