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Malden Catholic students visit BU biotech lab

Posted by Liam O'Kennedy  December 18, 2012 10:00 AM

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Malden Catholic freshmen Brendan White of Medford and Peter Andon of Malden perform an experiment dealing with sickle cell anemia at BU CityLab, part of the Boston University School of Medicine.


The following was submitted by Malden Catholic High School:

Malden Catholic freshmen in Biology and seniors in Advanced Placement (AP) Biology recently went to Boston University to learn about topics in biotechnology at BU CityLab.  CityLab is a fully equipped biotechnology laboratory located at the Boston University, School of Medicine. Students and teachers at CityLab explore topics in health, disease and industry through an inquiry-based methodology.

Malden Catholic freshmen worked on the module The Mystery of the Crooked Cell. In this lab, Malden Catholic students explored the molecular basis of sickle cell anemia. Seniors worked on two labs, In Search of the Bodies’ Antibodies and Medicine of the New Millennium. In the first lab, seniors performed an Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) to screen a hypothetical patient for the presence of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (simulated viral extract is used). In the second lab, seniors learned how cells can be genetically engineered to produce life-saving drugs.

“CityLab is a fantastic program for students,” said Dr. David Chuckran, chair of the Malden Catholic High School science department. “Students are given a specific problem, and through various activities, go about solving the problem. The problems vary from sickle cell anemia, to bacterial transformation, to DNA analysis. All the labs are “hands on” with students working as laboratory researchers. The focus is on the student as a researcher and problem solver through an inquiry based methodology.”

Malden Catholic’s AP Biology class is scheduled soon for another module at CityLab. The module, Amp Up Your DNA, is a hands-on investigation and analysis of chromosomes leading students to determine their own genotype. Students will use the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis to amplify and visualize a portion of their own DNA. The Malden Catholic students will amplify the Alu insert on chromosome #16 and analyze their results to determine their genotype.

Since 1992, more than 100,000 students have participated in hands-on, discovery oriented investigations at CityLab and aboard the CityLab MobileLab. Each investigation is defined in a mystery context and consists of a pre-lab activity, laboratory investigation and post-lab activity. The inquiry- based curricula was developed to provide students with a reason to apply the technology. Therefore, the laboratory techniques become problem solving tools.

About Malden Catholic

Malden Catholic High School maintains an 80-year tradition of leading students to achieve academic excellence in a Catholic, familial atmosphere. Annually, 99 percent of Malden Catholic graduates attend college. The Class of 2012 applied to 259 colleges and universities distributed across forty states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Graduates last year received college scholarships with a four-year value of more than $17 million. Recognized for its dedicated faculty, challenging curriculum, spiritual guidance, social outreach, and championship caliber athletic programs, Malden Catholic educates young men from more than 40 communities surrounding Boston. The school is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Further information on the school may be found at www.maldencatholic.org.

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