C-GEM researchers teach ‘Decoding Biology’ workshop to New Haven high schoolers

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Graduate student Patrick Ginther and Associate Research Scientist Omer Ad taught a week-long enrichment workshop for local high school students through the Pathways Summer Scholars Program.

The workshop, entitled “Decoding biology to code new materials,” covered the fundamentals of the genetic code, how scientists manipulate genes to create new products, and the societal implications of genetic engineering.

Hands-on activities included:

  • Central Dogma Relay Race: in a “telephone”-inspired game, groups of students compete to translate DNA sequences step by step. Students play the roles of DNA polymerase, a proofreading domain, RNA polymerase, and the small and large ribosomal subunits.
  • Toothpickase kinetics: Students act as toothpick-breaking enzymes in this hands-on exploration of enzyme kinetics and inhibition. Adapted from BASIS.
  • Deciphering your plasmid: Students use properties of a bacterial strain (antibiotic resistance, inducible fluorescent protein) to identify which genes are present on a plasmid.

Materials for these and other hands-on activities are available here. Please email hello@gem-net.net with any questions!

Pathways to Science is an initiative of the Yale Office of New Haven Affairs and serves as a hub for science outreach at Yale. More than 1,800 middle and high school students from the New Haven community are members of the Pathways to Science program and are invited to over 130 events annually.

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