One-day Research Technique Workshops in Genetics, Forensic Science, Microbiology and Immunology will be offered by faculty for freshman or sophomore biology or chemistry students who have completed at least one year Introduction to Biology courses in April 2018. 

Each workshop will have 16 slots due to the space and equipment limits. Perspective participants need to register online to provide student’s basic information, academic background such as major, year of enrollment and the choice of the workshop. At the end of the day, all participants will receive a certificate of successfully completed 8-hour workshop in perspective area and will be required to assess the workshop in a brief online questionnaire.

Workshop Courses



Exploring Gene regulation in Bacteria

This workshop will introduce students to gene regulation by investigating the lac operon and test three bacterial cultures for levels of β-galactosidase: one culture grown in medium that contains glucose, one in medium that contains lactose, and one in medium that contains both. In the process, students will learn the concept of the gene regulation and expression, the structure of the lac operon in bacteria, the differences of induced operon and repressive operon. Students will acquire the knowledge and learn tools to identify β-galactosidase activity and data analysis.



Exploring antibody-mediated immunity in diagnosis of infectious diseases

This workshop introduces students to the use of a common laboratory test called ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoabsorbant assay) in testing blood serum for the presence of antibodies against disease-causing pathogens such as viruses and bacteria. Students work in groups to perform a hands-on simulation of an indirect ELISA and take an investigative approach to diagnose several fictitious patients for either HIV, Influenza, West Nile or Human Papilloma Virus. Hypothetic scenarios are provided for each patient being tested for each disease. Since it is a simulated ELISA, there is no risk of infection from the materials and reagents.

Forensic Science

Forensic Science

Exploring DNA fingerprints in forensics

This workshop introduces students to the use of DNA fingerprint in forensic investigations and provides them with hands-on experience performing gel electrophoresis. In the process, students will learn the concept that although the human genome is highly conserved, there is variation between individuals. In the lab, students will pour the gel and load DNA samples which represent PCR fragments generated from the DNA of three crime suspects, the victim, and the evidence found on the victim. Once the gels have been run and stained, students will analyze the DNA banding patterns and compare the patterns generated from the suspects’ DNA with the pattern generated from the evidence DNA. This will enable students to determine which of those three suspects more likely committed the crime.



Exploring DNA extraction and the amplification of mitochondrial DNA

The workshop introduces students to the extraction mitochondrial DNA from their cheek cells or hair, Thermocycler to amplify DNA in vitro (PCR) and perform DNA analysis using restriction enzymes. In the process, students will learn the concept of the mitochondrial genome, why it is important, and the difference between mtDNA and nuclear DNA. This experiment amplify the sequence within the hyper-variable region of the mitochondrial genome. Students will acquire the knowledge and learn tools to identify their mitochondrial DNA. Concepts explored in this workshop include haplotyping, evolution, and the application of PCR technology.

The workshops are supported through MS INBRE, funded by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103476.