See below to familiarize yourself with some of our workshop offerings.
Water Quality Testing of the Gowanus Canal
Purpose: To demonstrate how our vintage underground system of plumbing was originally designed for sewage and later for rain run off, and how heavy rains increased by climate change result in combined sewer overflow.
Concepts: Gene-environment interactions/ evolution/ artificial and natural selection/screens.
Method of lab experimentation: Microbial testing using color as an indicator of genetic diversity and metabolism to distinguish human bacteria from other kinds (two sessions at least 24 hours apart) .
Immortality and Limited Resources
Purpose: To address the impact that advances in stem cell research can have on an aging population that does not die, places pressure on population size and resource depletion.
Concepts: Stem cell niches, gene environment interactions, cell division, and cell differentiation.
Method of lab experimentation: Planaria worms, that have the natural ability to regenerate/microscopy (2 sessions 1 week apart).
Bacterial Bio-pigments: Sustainable Dyes and Textiles
Purpose: Using bacterial pigments to dye fabrics reduces the use of acid, dye, and heat, thus, less toxic dying processes that unlike plant dyes do not require large land plots of water (natural resource management).
Concepts: Gene-environment interactions, metabolism, cell division, sterile technique
Method of Experiment: painting and printing with living bacteria (two sessions at least 24 hours apart).
GM Foods: Reducing and Expanding Biodiversity and Use of Pesticides and Herbicides
Purpose: Testing various foods for the presence of genetic modification DNA sequences
Concepts: Genetic changes and phenotypic changes, DNA amplification, Viral integration and jumping genes, evolutionary diversity, conservation of endangered species, foods as vaccines
Method of Experiment: DNA isolation from food, PCR amplification of specific plant and GM DNA sequences using PCR (one very long session; cooking show style)
Making GMOs/Biomimicry: Lateral Gene Transfer (Jellyfish & Bacteria)
Purpose: To perform a proof of concept experiment in which students mimic natural lateral gene transfer events
Concepts: Genetic and phenotypic changes, viral integration, evolutionary diversity, gene therapy, sterile technique
Method of Experiment: Bacterial transformation using a K12 bacteria strain, Jellyfish gene in plasmid, and CaCl2 and selecting for transformants with antibiotics and screening for rDNA uptake with color.
The Rise of Antibiotic Resistance and our Microbiome
Purpose: To test various compounds for their ability to halt bacterial growth and to capture spontaneous mutation and understand how this impacts society and how social use of antibiotics can lead to multidrug resistance.
Concepts: Microbiomes, evolutionary diversity, natural and artificial selection, lateral gene transfer, sterile technique
Method of Experiment: Kirby Bauer Disk assay with various strains of commonly found bacteria.
Microbial Fuel Cells
Purpose: Using bacteria in soil to power a calculator or led light; sustainable energy resources
Concepts: Metabolism, chemistry, energy
Method of Experiment: Microbes in soil (one session)
Bioplastics and Sustainability
Purpose: To explore biopolymers (starch,water,milk, etc) as an alternative to traditional polyester
Concepts: Chemical polymerization
Method of Experiment: Mixing materials, using molds, and heating and cooling cycles to craft products or textiles.