UBMS 10th Grade DNA Experience at the Waksman Institute

Upward Bound Math-Science sophomores participated in our annual 3- day lab activity at the Waksman Institute where they explored laboratory practices in line with the current research of Dr. Andrew Vershon, a Principal Investigator at Waksman Institute and a professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Director of the Waksman Student Scholars Program. This experience covered DNA structure gene expression, plasmids, and how to analyze and mock up PCR gel culminating with students presenting their work and receiving certificates for their microbiology experience. Ultimately, students were taught the skills to be able to begin the pathway to estimate how closely species are related, based on scientific evidence (e.g., anatomical similarities, similarities of DNA base and/or amino acid sequence). Read more student experiences below:

“I learned what procedures are needed to purify and match DNA and how it is useful for forensic class!” Nazihah Burch

“We used a number of instruments like a micropipette, electric spinner, mini columns, and a lot of test tubes. It was a complex process that involved 13 steps”. - Ogechi Ehiobuche

“Working in the lab was a good experience, and it was easier than I thought because I was being assisted by someone who knew what she (Sue Coletta) was doing”. –Jeralyn Lopez

“The lab helped me understand the topic of DNA technology, which is a very confusing concept”. - Faith Alleyne

“Overall, I think it was a fun experience. I can’t wait to go back and learn more!” Tyhir Lewis Jr.