High school students will come to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s campus to collect legitimate data on various types of organisms at a large scale to help further biological research. Each iteration of the workshop will be focused on one organism that plays a role in biological research in areas such as genetics, immunology, and epidemiology. Likewise, each iteration of the workshop will have its own BioCrowd Kit modified for the specific organism.
*** Please refer to Phase Zero for changes due to COVID-19
PHASE ZERO: Distributive Research Model and Covid-19 Precautions
The Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic is changing the landscape of research and how it is conducted all over the world. COVID-19 is a highly infectious respiratory disease that spreads through breathing in viral transmissions in the air and physical contact with contaminated surfaces. Although it takes 14 days to develop symptoms, COVID-19 is highly contagious and easy to spread by asymptomatic carriers. The complications that come with researching under these conditions include more safety precautions and protocols that enforce social distancing, frequent hand washing, and face mask coverings.
But what if the need for close proximity could be avoided entirely? A Distributed Research Model reduces the physical contact between researchers, while still also providing a large set of research data to further research investigations. Here at the BioCrowd Studio, we are redesigning the workshop layout to fit a Distributed Research Model to better accommodate our workshop participants and facilitators. Phase Zero aims to design and test a BioCrowd Kit that can be distributed safely to students in their own homes with clear instructions so workshop participants can effectively produce and return significant results just as they would in the Petit Institute Labs.
PHASE ONE: PHENOTYPIC DATA COLLECTION
Phase One of the workshop will be a one-day workshop that focuses on identifying different visible phenotypes of the organism and analyzing if the student’s findings match current data with the strains provided.
- The students will first carry out experiments for one control wild type strain.
- Then the students will carry out four to five standard experiments to identify the organism’s behaviors based accordingly to the mutant strains of the organism provided. This will establish a substantial data set for Phase One of the workshop.
- Lastly, students will explore a topic that has not been previously explored to a great extent in the research field. Students will have the opportunity to provide valuable evidence for an unknown topic of interest.
PHASE TWO: GENOTYPIC DATA COLLECTION
Phase Two of the workshop will be a multi-day workshop that focuses on the genotypic quality of the organism, if possible, by having the students extract DNA, RNA, or protein from the organism. Students will be able to use the genetic material they collect with fluorescent gene markers to capture images that identify the specific genes present in the organism.
Both Phase One and Two will be interactive and hands-on activities for the students to learn how epigenetics play a key role in phenotypes and genotypes.