GO WITH YOUR GUTS! (And the billions of bacteria in them): A personal microbiome course

April 14th, 21st, and 28, 2018 from 10 am-2 pm


Signup on Eventbrite by April 4th

Test your own personal microbiome (or your pet’s!)

In this class you will be able to investigate your own gut microbiome, or the microbes of your pets, roommates, or family members. Our microbiome (the microbes living in and on our bodies) are believed to have profound effects on our immune systems, health, and susceptibility to disease. Find out what you can learn about your own health and wellness. In this class you’ll perform lab work to isolate the microbes present, sequence and identify those microbes, and then learn what the results mean for YOU personally.

In this class you’ll be able to design your own experiment to compare any two samples! What samples do you want to compare? How many gut microbes you share with your dog? What about with another human? Does your gut microbiome change with your diet? What if you ate pizza for two weeks straight? (We do not endorse pizza as a sole source of nutrition!)

Isolate and process DNA from your samples. Use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify the DNA of the microbes. Determine the different species of in your two samples. For those interested in programming and computational biology, the entire class will learn how to analyze the sequencing data and perform comparative analysis to uncover further information (don’t worry, this class is appropriate for beginners!).

Everyone gets two biological samples to test, here are some experimental suggestions. If none of these interest you, just ask us if you have another idea.

1) Test your microbiome vs. your roommate (or friend, or family member)’s microbiome *
2) Test your microbiome vs. your pet **
3) Test your microbiome before and after a lifestyle change such as a change in diet, exercise or sleep habits
4) Test your pet microbiome before and after a change in your pet’s lifestyle

* Mandatory: you must get their consent

**Well, at least ask?

DISCLAIMER: In order to acquire these microbes for analysis you will need to take a very small, easy -to get, stool sample. The microbes will be immediately inactivated (killed) in the sample before you bring in to process at BUGSS. We DO NOT advise a drastic change in diet, sleep, or exercise so please be safe and smart in your choices. (Good Example experiment… drink a kombucha every day for 2 weeks and see what happens before and after) (Bad Example… feed your cat pizza for 2 weeks and see what happens.)

You will get further (detailed) instructions and materials once you sign up for class. Please consider the time you may need to collect your samples, especially if testing a change in diet.

Lab Skills Nights! PCR and primer design

Thursday May 10th or Thursday May 24th at 7 pm

Lab skills

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Lab Skill Nights at BUGSS! Take 2 hours to learn an hands-on lab technique!

To help work around busy schedules, two nights a month we will offer a hands-on learning experience of a specific technique.

-For those that have not yet picked up a pipette it takes a bit getting used to. We will go over several proper pipetting techniques and tips to make sure you feel comfortable and confident. Soon enough this well-known molecular biology tool will be one of your favorites.

Polymerase Chain Reaction and Primer Design: We will be learning how to set up (one of the most used reactions in the lab) the enzyme reaction! Using the DNA polymerase enzyme derived from bacteria we will be able to exponentially “amplify” our DNA copies! We will also cover general primer design, to help amplify specific parts of DNA.

Digital Badges can be requested to be earned with each session via Credly. Please mention during course!

This will be an immersive hands-on class so be prepared to attend the full 2 hours and listen carefully. Additional material will be available to help understand concepts and basic biology of this technique and applications.

Non-members $30, members $12

Not a BUGSS member yet? Join our community of citizen scientists, thinkers, and tinkerers and get mega awesome benefits (also gain infinite cool points!) inquire with slaun@bugssonline.org!