What is LabRATS?
A two-semester course that engages students in the process of hands-on, lab-based learning to enable them to develop skills and techniques employed in scientific research. Additionally, students will develop skills in scientific investigation and reporting (being able to write scientifically, analyze/interpret data, and present scientific findings).
Students learn cutting-edge lab techniques currently used in scientific research:
- Use micropipettes
- Preparing lab solutions
- Making serial dilutions
- Aseptic technique/microbiology
- Use a spectrophotometer
- Use microscopes
- Perform chromatography
- Run horizontal (DNA) and vertical (protein) gel electrophoresis
- Perform PCR (to amplify DNA)
- Mini-prep analysis of DNA
- RNAi interference
- DNA sequencing
Students gain hands-on experience with advanced lab equipment that includes:
- PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) machine, or thermal cycler - used in molecular biology to amplify a single or a few copies of DNA
- Horizontal and vertical gel electrophoresis equipment - separation of macromolecules (DNA, RNA and proteins) and their fragments.
- Column chromatography - separation and purification of pigments from mixtures.
- Advanced microscopy - record live behavioral and developmental characteristics of organisms.
Students will be able to work with living organisms including:
- Daphnia magna - studying the effects of chemicals on heart rate.
- Zebrafish - examining factors that affect embryological development.
- Planaria - behavioral and regeneration studies