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Lessons in synthetic biology

By Cathy Wang, S.B. '20, iGEM co-president

Freshmen (from left) Zehan Zhou, Andrew Zhang, Kai Hin Lui, and Juhee Goyal learn about wet-lab procedures from Melissa Hancock, Biological/Environmental Lab Engineer in the SEAS Active Learning Labs. (Photo courtesy of Cathy Wang)

A few iGEM ‘compers’ met on Sept. 28 in the Active Learning Labs to try their hands at synthetic biology. Their task was to digest plasmid DNA with restriction enzymes, perform gel electrophoresis to separate DNA fragments, and then determine quantity and type of restriction enzyme sites that existed. IGEM club treasurer Stephen Casper, A.B. ’21, and secretary Ralph Estanboulieh, A.B. ’21, chemical and physical biology concentrators, gave a brief introduction to plasmids and restriction enzymes and their uses. Melissa Hancock, Biological/Environmental Lab Engineer in the Active Learning Labs, provided lab safety training before students put on their lab coats and safety goggles and stepped into the lab. While electrophoresis was running, iGEM club lab coordinator Mark Meneses, A.B. ’21, a bioengineering concentrator, led analyses of combinations of possible site cutting. Half of the attendees had not tried any wet-lab experiments before and were eager to visualize their results in comparison to their theoretical analyses.

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Topics: Student Organizations