STEM Outreach: High School Scientists Explore Biotechnology in Summer Workshop

The Center for Life Sciences Technology (CLiST) in the College of Technology hosted a Biotechnology Workshop for 14 students from eight local high schools.

Young scientists from St. Agnes Academy, YES Prep, Strake Jesuit, Seven Lakes, High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Porter, Humble, and Chavez High School came together on the main campus for the three-day workshop, from June 16 through 18.

The program’s administrator, Dr. Rupa Iyer, designed the workshop to reach out to high school students to promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education and Biotechnology at the University of Houston.

Students gained hands-on experience with sophisticated experimentation such as micropipetting, bacterial gram stain, human and bacterial DNA isolation, creation of genetically modified glow in the dark bacteria (transformation), variable number tandem repeat (VNTR) finger printing, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), gel electrophoresis and examination of forensic evidence from a crime scene, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and disease diagnosis, and DNA microarray.

"I really enjoy the opportunity to work with the high school students and provide them with a better understanding of scientific procedures," said Kevin Smith, Instructional Laboratory Manager. "We show them a wide array of college level procedures and demonstrate just how interdisciplinary biotechnology is as a whole. The students really enjoy "solving a crime" by analyzing forensic evidence and the experiment where they create their own glow-in-the-dark bacteria," he said.

The program is open to both high school students and teachers.

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