Sunday, May 20, 2018

Spring Forward! Biology and Genetics Students are Investigating Anatomy and Physiology

Biotech students have been investigating human anatomy and physiology.  In biology, students have been dissecting Sus scrofa as a model organism to understand mammalian anatomy.  And in genetics, students have been learning about immunology and oncology.  Students have learned their own blood types and they have been investigating the arms of the immune system.

All the while, both cohorts have been preparing for their capstone events. In biology, six teams have moved forward to the Imagine Tomorrow competition at WSU.  In genetics, students have been preparing for their capstone project, the BioExpo.  Stay tuned!

Thumbs up!  Ready for Lab Work!

Examining Blood Smears

Just a few drops.

Blood coach!

Biology Students Performing Dissection

Assisting dissection

Surgical Teamwork

Making connections to human anatomy

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Imagine Tomorrow Pre-Judging Event Determines Who Moves Forward to WSU in May

The biotechnology/biology students presented their projects in order to determine which teams will move forward to the final competition at WSU in Pullman in May.  Students did a stellar job at presenting the worthiness and relevancy of their solutions to support sustainability in categories such as construction, food, water, energy, and aerospace and transportation.  It was impressive to see the creativity and innovation of ideas that students are putting forward.
Got Milk Plastic?  Yes. They have created a biodegradable polymer from expired milk. Love the Jerseymaid outfits.

Using pedal power to charge devices.  They created their own generator which can be attached to bicycles.

Recylcable Rainwear.  They are making rain wear out of Tyvex from construction projects.

Waste Watchers.  Using compost to generate electricity.

Oil spills?  That's a problem.  They have a solution to help clean up spills.

Alone Home Team Members in a Contemplative Moment.  They are challenging FEMA to develop sustainable housing.

Charge 2 Go. That's right.  Charge your vehicle while driving it on roadways.

Window to the Future.  A window that can serve as solar panel and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Life in a bottle.  Reusing plastic bottles for construction purposes.

Spark.  An app to monitor your energy use.

A competitive app that allows you to compare your energy use to your neighbors.

C-questration.  How can we capture all of that carbon dioxide?  Algae, my friend.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Biotechnology/Genetics Students are Learning Advanced Microbiology and DNA Technology

Since February, genetics students have been learning about microbiology and genetics.  They have learned how to manipulate DNA and transfer DNA into organisms, conferring new traits.  They have also learned how to isolate the protein products of interest. Upcoming labs will build upon these foundations and they will amplify and analyzed their own DNA.
Successful transformation!  Glowing colonies under UV light indicate transformed bacteria.

Cell pellet of transformed cells glowingly showing their traits.

Learning and practicing aseptic technique.

Teamwork prepping and plating out cells.

Column chromatography showing isolation of protein product from transformed cells.

Biotechnology/Chemistry Students Learning About Chemical Reactions

Mapping out their experiments.

Happy Chemists!

Did they get the correct results?  Thumbs up!

Teamwork sign?

CSI Ballard

Biotechnology/Biology students recently helped crack a murder case using forensic science.  Students learned essential lab skills in micropipetting and gel electrophoresis.  They then conducted restriction enzyme digests of DNA and compared their evidence samples to suspect samples.  Case closed!

Team work! Prepping samples.

Steady hands.  Learning how to load an agarose gel.

Nice technique!  Mastering loading an agarose gel.
Supportive team work!

Careful and precise technique.

Removing gel for staining.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

The First Semester Winds Down. Units Completed and Finals are Here!

     Biotechnology students in biology and genetics have recently completed some extensive unit work.  In biology, students completed the conservation/consumption unit where they learned about their own impact on the planet.  They collected their garbage and weighed and sorted it daily by material type.  They then kept a daily log which they will analyze in their math classes next semester.  They also read and responded to the book, Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things, by Alan Durning.
     In genetics, students completed their two month experiment on Mendelian genetics using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster to conduct crosses to determine the mode of inheritance of certain traits.  Thousands of flies participated in the crosses and students used statistical analysis to learn about "goodness of fit" of their observed outcomes compared to expected outcomes.
Example of fly cross.

Delicately removing flies for examination.

Counting and sexing flies for data collection.

The fly whisperer and champion breeder.

Happy to weigh their garbage.

Waiting for weighing.

Sorting and weighing.

Lunging for compost bin-sorting waste.

Keeping that aluminum out of the landfill.

So much garbage!

Typical happy consumers.

Recyclables after four days of collection!

Happy recyclers!


Saturday, December 30, 2017

Learning by Doing! Biotech Students are Actively Engaged in Science Inquiry.

Winter is here!  Biotech students have been busily researching the way cells work, how DNA can be manipulated, and conducting research of their own as they delve into project based learning.  Biology students are beginning their work on the Imagine Tomorrow competition.  To learn more about the competition check out the WSU site at
In Genetics, students are in the middle of their research projects about a genetic disorder of their choosing.  Students will begin formal presentations on January 4th.  In the interim, all students have been working through laboratory activities to help them understand molecular biology.
Making samples for gel loading.
Making cell splats of HeLa cells.

Calculating surface area to volume ratio.  Oh my!

Playing with agar while waiting for diffusion experiment.

Go Team!  Way to share gel loading!

Right tip, correct volume-load!