HL IB Biology Juniors Attend Biotechnology Conference (Spring 2012)

By Johanna Kallio

On Wednesday, January 11th I took all 37 of my HL IB Biology juniors to a biotechnology conference at Bridgewater State University. It was a fascinating, informative, hands-on science day. The program, “Biotech Futures”, gave the students an opportunity to explore a premier higher education institution and learn more about the wide range of well-paying jobs available in one of Massachusetts’ most dynamic career clusters: biotechnology. This fast growing industry is grappling with many of the most challenging questions facing humankind: creating new medicines and medical treatments, and addressing issues of food production, renewable energy, and environmental degradation. The students had a chance to deepen their understanding of these issues and to think about how they might be a part of this great adventure.

We heard lectures from scientists from Organogenesis who produce artificial skin, senior vice president of Mass College of Pharmacy, sister-in-law of late superman Christopher Reeve and so on. We were also able to do two biotechnology labs in a Bridgewater State University’s brand new science building. Some of the labs we did included the use of fluorescence spectroscopy, isolating DNA from strawberries, studying both harmful and beneficial bacteria by biological microscopy, making biofuels and measuring their burn capacity, making microalgae balls to study photosynthesis, and doing a crime scene investigation involving gel electrophoresis.

At the end of the day I was extremely proud of my students. The president of Bridgewater State University personally commended me on the intellectual curiosity of Sturgis students!

%d bloggers like this: