Molecular Biotechnology Bootcamp – What does the bacteria say? – Quorum Sensing

In this class, students will be generating a functional bacterial sensor by manipulating DNA and cloning using BioBricks in the lab. This involves a very intriguing process called quorum sensing, where bacterial cells (Sender Cells) that will send signal molecules and bacterial cells (Receiver Cells) that will detect and respond to the signal molecules. Throughout the weeks of this class the students will generate the Receiver Cells and will demonstrate out they detect these sender molecules and express the fluorescence marker that they will clone into bacteria.

First WeekWe will go over lab safety, learn how to inoculate bacterial cultures, and show bacterial plating techniques. We will also perform a Plasmid DNA Isolation to isolate DNA from bacteria. We will learn about Biobricks and plasmid parts and construction. Each student will be given a topic to research about to present at the final week of class to the group.

Second Week– We will determine our DNA concentration using a spectrophotometer. Next, we will set up a Restriction Digest reaction (which will cut the DNA strands so that we can manipulate the parts of the DNA sequences we are interested in).

Third Week We will use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to make millions of copies of our DNA of interest. Then we will run DNA gel electrophoresis to visualize our DNA of interest to test our PCR reactions as well as our restriction digests from last week.

Forth WeekWe will set up a DNA Ligation reaction (to permanently assemble our genes of interest into an appropriate expression plasmid), run Gel Electrophoresis (to visualize our DNA of interest), perform a Bacterial Transformation into bacteria to express the new DNA in bacteria.

Fifth Week We will finally set up our Sensor and Receiver Cells to test our bacterial sensor using techniques that will be decided on by the students. We will examine these sensors under UV light in the lab and take pictures (for keeping and showing off to others!). Finally the students will be asked to present on their given topics.

Additional support will be given with online materials that include videos and links to expand on knowledge and understanding. Although we will be immersing ourselves right into the hands-on work there will be explanations of the techniques and concepts behind the biology of these techniques during class so prepare yourself some fun whirlwind learning!

With this class we will be awarding digital badges through Credly. Badges that will be awarded to class participants that demonstrate understanding and basic skills:

The course is hands-on project based so you will use the techniques discussed in class in order to purify genomic DNA, isolate a specific gene from that genomic DNA, clone that gene, and make the protein that gene encodes. Online material with relevant experimental protocols as well as background reading material will round out the course and provide participants with a solid foundation for additional courses in the BUGSS Molecular and Synthetic Biology series. Students will be Because of the intensive nature of the course registration is limited.

Those interested in Digital Badges please inquire! You have the potential to earn these with each session via Credly.

The course will take place between 4 pm to 6 pm on Wednesday and Fridays over the course of 5 weeks. The days are Oct. 18th throuh Nov 17th, each Wed and Fri.  Please be prepared to attend all days!

Cost for non-members is $325

Discounts for our awesome BUGSS members! Not a BUGSS member yet? Join our community of citizen scientists, thinkers, and tinkerers and get mega awesome benefits (also gain infinite cool points!) inquire with or learn more here: