High School Students Get Research Training in Biophysics

The CPLC has developed a new outreach program to involve high school students in research. Nine high school students have been involved in this new program over the last year. During the Fall 2011 semester the program consisted of a "Biophysics Bootcamp" in which students learned basic biophysical concepts and techniques for research in the laboratory. 
Spring 2012 semester involved two projects - the first involved expressing phosphoglycerate kinase double labeled with two FRET dyes, M-Cherry and Green Fluorescent Protein, in E. Coli. The goal was for the students to identify conditions under which intra-molecular FRET is observed in the bacteria cells, but inter-molecular FRET is not. This involved adjusting conditions to carefully control protein expression levels in the cell. 
The second project involves using fluorescence to monitor the efficiency of photosynthesis and thus the health of various plants and algae. The algae project involved exploring the effect of light exposure on photosynthetic pigment composition. Students also designed photobioreactors to grow the algae and explored various growth conditions and media to optimize growth. These projects are led by CPLC Teaching Fellow, Anna Jean Wirth, and CPLC K-12 Outreach Coordinator, Sharlene Denos.