Sunday, April 23, 2017

Know Thyself. Genetics Students Performing Genetic Testing on Themselves.

In the second semester of genetics, students have performed several experiments analyzing their own DNA.  In one test, students looked at a variation in a non-coding part of a gene and in another experiment, they looked at a variation in a coding part of a gene.  Students first extracted their own DNA and then they performed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in order to amplify specific DNA sequences.

Using a saline mouth wash to get those epithelial cells. 

Mouthwashing for science!

Chillin' cells for the DNA extraction.

Loading samples!

Happy pipetting and sample prepping.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Genetics students are learning microbiobial techniques in biotechnology.

Over the past several weeks, genetics students have been learning about microbial biology and applications of biotechnology.  Students have transformed bacteria and they have recombined DNA plasmids and tested those constructs in bacteria. 
Carefully determining volumes.

Flaming the spreader to sterilize it.

Keeping a close eye whilst keeping things sterile.

Finding joy in plating!

Senior moment! Striking a pose before loading gels.

CSI Ballard!

Biology students recently solved a murder case using DNA technology.  Students had been learning lab skills such as gel electrophoresis to run DNA samples on gels.  The Brooks Case was solved!
Loading samples in the gel.

It takes teamwork to solve a crime!

Happy forensic scientists!

Collecting data from the stained gels.

One of the stained gels with DNA

Friday, March 17, 2017

Imagining Tomorrow-Biology Biotechnology Students are Prepping for the WSU Competition

The biology students are preparing for the competition at WSU on May 19-21, 2017.  We hosted a pre-pre-judging practice session so that students could float their ideas to judges.  The next judging event will determine which eight teams move forward to the event at WSU. Here are some examples of the teams' ideas.
How to store energy for later use?

Can we convert kinetic energy into storable energy to charge our devices?

Sunflower seed husks into paper? Waste not, want not.

Graphene- the new black.

One drop at a time. How can we conserve water?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Fieldtrip to the UW Medical Center

On February 8th, genetics students had an opportunity to visit labs at the UW Medical Center and to learn about career pathways in bio medicine.  In addition to learning about the application process to the UW, students also toured the genomics labs and the sports medicine facility.  It was a rainy day of slogging around campus, but the students learned a lot and got a feel of campus life.
Waiting for the tour to begin!

A little chat about genomics at Foege.

Happy to be part of the UW tour! 

Learning about the amazing Sports Medicine department.

Understanding how to help injured athletes at the UW Sports Medicine Facility.
Safely back at home at BHS.  BT signs!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Got Garbage?

     First year biotechnology/biology students have been conducting research on their own consumption and conservation.  For the first week of school in January, students held on to all of the items they consumed within a 24-hour period and then sorted and weighed their consumed items to collect data on their human footprint.  In the upcoming days, they will analyze their data in their math classes and write up a reflection of their consumption learning about conservation and the human impact on our planet.
     While they were collecting data, biology students also read the book by Alan Durning, titled: Stuff. The Secret Lives of Everyday Things.  This book chronicles the consumption of an average Seattleite and explains the energy and raw materials that go in to making typical items used in an average day such as: a cup of coffee, a computer, a cheeseburger, and a car.
Weighing items.

Sorting and weighing.

Logging consumption.

Where does aluminum originate?

Having fun collecting data!

Sorting consumed items.

Record haul for the week! Six bags of garbage, five bags of recyclables, and two bags of compost.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Whidbey Island Ecological Studies Continue into the fall of 2016.

Recently, over the days of November 4-5,  25 students from all cohorts in the Biotechnology Academy visited the ongoing research site up on Whidbey Island.  For 15 years, students have been active participants in an on-going ecological research project measuring growth of a newly re-planted forest and carbon sequestration of several re-planted trees.  And, as per usual, we were fortunate to have a cool rainless Friday for data collection and a damp, raining Saturday for data analysis.  The students were fabulous in their eagerness to be a part of the natural world and they were able to put their electronic devices away (shocking, but true).  This is an outdoor experience where kids can be kids and throw away their "cool" card and be part of the present.  Here are some images from the weekend.
Collecting insects from trees.

Do banana slugs really have a neurotoxin?  No pain here after kissing.

Apple harvest for apple pressing and cider production.

That's one big old growth red western cedar. The mother tree.

Looking at invertebrates from study sites.

Collecting critters from live traps set overnight.

Testing the waters for the pond sampling expeditions.  It was a warm, balmy, November afternoon.

Reporting out data on carbon sequestration.

And the cows are always a hit with Seattle city kids!  Getting in touch with rural landscapes.

Busting home.  Biotech signs on the ferry to Mulkiteo.