Nearly 90 area high school juniors and seniors recently visited Wright State University’s Dayton Campus to learn more about biochemistry and molecular biology through a free program hosted by the College of Science and Mathematics.
Eighty-eight students visited the Genomics in Real Time (GREAT) Lab to experience college-level, hands-on activities that explain genomics methods and applications, nanopore sequencing and DNA extraction and isolation. Activities included DNA isolation, flow cell initialization and observation, and barcoded library prep.
“Genomics is an area of research that has exploded in scale,” said Michael Markey, Ph.D., research associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and director of the Center for Genomic Research. “Since I’ve been doing this, we’ve sequenced the human genome end-to-end and cracked the ‘$1,000 genome.’”
Genomics has applications in basic research in biology, mathematics and computer science, as well as in the clinic, with many hospitals now operating sequencing facilities in the Dayton region and beyond.
“We are just beginning to realize benefits to human health, and I think our students and future students will find that exciting,” said Markey.
Wright State’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology hosted the aspiring college students in a free community outreach program intended to grow interest in the field of genomics.
Students learned how to relate to biochemistry and molecular biology by examining the bacteria, fungi, archaea and virus species present in samples of local wastewater plant influents. They worked in teams during DNA isolation activities and were able to take their DNA home with them if they wished.
The students also learned about the academic programs offered by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
“After the lab work, I got to talk with several students about careers in biology, science and related topics,” said Markey. “I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of students who have plans to go into scientific fields, and I think a good number of them may come here to Wright State.”
For more information about the GREAT Lab, visit science-math.wright.edu/biochemistry-and-molecular-biology/genomics-in-real-time-great-lab or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.