Thursday June 9th (7pm-9pm) - OPEN LAB MEETING! Ryan Hammond (who gave our very first lab meeting back in the fall of 2015!) is back with more exciting extensions of his project and he wants some help! He is working on developing yeast-grown sensors for estrogen and other hormones. This is wonderful for furthering his own work but has some great implications of using it to test samples from the local enviroment, water, food, etc! He is (and BUGSS is) also looking for people to come build a spectrometer, which will require laser cutting, soldering small chips, and other maker skills/learning. Note: this will be the planning session for the build. PLEASE JOIN US! This is a great chance to either 1) Be a part of a fun ongoing citizen science project 2) Build a very useful tool for the lab (or your own) and gain experience doing so. RSVP and details here!
Thursday June 16th or Thursday June 30th (7pm-9pm) -We are now offering Lab Skill Nights!
To help work around busy schedules, two nights a month we will offer a hands-on learning experience of a specific technique. The month of June we will be teaching Pipette skills and Plasmid DNA Isolation on both days (Thursday June 16th, and then on Thursday June 30th). Future months we will cover additional techniques including: DNA Electrophoresis, Restriction Digestions with introduction to BioBricks, DNA Ligation, DNA Transformation, and others to follow. Digital Badges will be earned with each session via Credly.
Non-members $15, members $5 (or FREE if you can assist with the class and want additional experience!)
RSVP and details here!
Friday June 17th (7pm-9pm) - SEMINAR NIGHT! Synthetic Antibodies- The Emerging Field of “Aptamers” in Diagnostics and Drug Discovery
G. Thomas Caltagirone PhD will be graciously giving a seminar on the intriguing (and much appreciated for all those that have worked with unreliable antibodies!) work of his company, Aptagen. (www.aptagen.com)
An aptamer (also known as a synthetic antibody) is a stable DNA, RNA, or peptide ligand that binds with high affinity and specificity to targets such as small molecules, peptides, proteins, biomarkers, cells, and tissues. Typical aptamer affinities are in the nanomolar to picomolar range for several target types. However, unlike the traditional antibody, aptamers have impressive specificities against target antigens thereby eliminating cross-reactivity with closely related targets and avoiding false-positive results. A classic example is an aptamer that exhibits greater than 10,000-fold binding affinity for theophylline over caffeine, which differ from one another in structure by only a single methyl group. Additional benefits of aptamers include: manufacturing costs and time are all lower compared to that of monoclonal antibody production. Once the aptamer (nucleic acid) sequence is known, the aptamer can be easily synthesized using a DNA (oligo) synthesizer. These aptamer oligos are easy to label with reporters, enzymes, or fluorescent tags. In addition, aptamers can be engineered into molecular switches or apta-switches for signal generation in a drug discovery-based assay or to produce an output in a diagnostic test.
RSVP and details here!
Fri June 24th (7-9pm) & Sat June 25th (9am-2pm)- Mini Molecular Biology Bootcamp!
This is a condensed version of our Molecular Biotechnology Bootcamp course where we will immerse ourselves in hands-on learning of the foundational techniques of a molecular biologist and a great place to start for all of the other BUGSS synthetic biology courses, including Build-A-Gene which will be offered this August.
Molecular Biotechnology Bootcamp focuses on the knowledge base and laboratory skills necessary to carry out a project in synthetic biology. The course is project based and since we are short on time we will jump right into lab and get to work!
Friday night 7pm-9/9:30pm- We will go over lab safety, perform a Plasmid DNA Isolation (to isolate DNA from bacteria), and set up an overnight Restriction Digest reaction (which will cut the DNA strands so that we can manipulate the parts of the DNA sequences we are interested in).
Saturday 9am-2pm- We will set up a DNA Ligation reaction (to permanently assemble our genes of interest into an appropriate expression plasmid), run Gel Electrophoresis (to visualize our DNA of interest), perform a Transformation into bacteria (to express the new DNA in bacteria), and finally plate bacteria that has been previously transformed to express different and beautiful colors! (This is where you can put on your bio-art hat if you’d like)
Additional support will be given with online materials that include videos and links to expand on knowledge and understanding. Although we will be immersing ourselves right into the hands-on work there will be explanations of the techniques and concepts behind the biology of these techniques during class so prepare yourself some fun whirlwind learning!
With this class we will be awarding digital badges through Credly. Badges that will be awarded to class participants that demonstrate understanding and basic skills:
Pipette Skills Level 1 and Level 2
Plasmid DNA isolation Level 1
Restriction Digest Level 1
DNA Ligation Level 1
Gel Electrophoresis Level 1
Bacterial Transformation Level 1
Please be prepared to attend the entire time. Costs (not including online processing fees) are $80 for non-members and $25 for members.
RSVP and details here!
To get more details of these events (and more) you may have missed or to relive all the fun please check out the Storify Page of our good friend and superb science communicator Anne Estes of Mostly Microbes. CLICK HERE to see what we got into!