February may be the shortest month of the year but we have got a lot going on here at BUGSS!


CLASSES THIS MONTH – Get hands-on in-the-lab experience! Intro to Bioinformatics tools for DIY citizen scientists 
DATES: Four Saturday classes in February ( 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th) 10am – 12pm

You will learn biological information retrieval: databases, search strategies and BLAST
1. What is bioinformatics? Intro to databases and biological databases. Commonly used NCBI databases.
2. Effective search of NCBI databases using boolean operator, search fields and quotation marks. Databases beyond NCBI.
3. Pairwise sequence alignment, the building block of biological sequence search.
4. Understanding BLAST search- the work horse of biological sequence search.

The goal of the class: To be familiar with common bioinformatics tools for information retrieval- and preliminary understanding of how the tools work. Find relevant biological information more effectively.

Sign up here: it Glow? Or no?
Date: Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Join us for a few hours to explore how well disinfectants work, using bioluminesent bacteria as a marker! Great introductory mini workshop to get busy in the lab working with bacteria and how we can use them for research. Anyone middle-school-aged to adult will enjoy this short hands-on session!
Bio of your instructor: Dr Kathleen Gillespie has been a research microbiologist in industry from the Bio- pharmaceutical to Bio-defense. She recently received her doctoral degree in Marine Biotechnology and is now a visiting professor in Molecular Biotechnology at Stockton University

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Mini Class! “ProTeam: Playing with Proteins”
Friday, February 24, 2017 at 7:00- 9:00 PM | Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 10:00am -2:00 PM

Techniques in protein chemistry are utilized in practically every aspect of biomedical research. With the advances in decoding the human genome, there is now much to explore about the functions and roles of the genes encoded. Join us to learn the basics of protein biology as we isolate, quantify, and specifically identify proteins from bacteria. We will also discuss the applications of protein chemistry and how it impacts the biomedical sciences..

Bio of your instructor:Steve Lu is an MD/PhD student at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Currently, he is spending his time in the laboratory understanding cancer immunology to develop novel therapeutics for efficient tumor control. Whenever he can get a chance away from the bench, he spends his time cooking and baking fun recipes and running outside. He hopes to help scientists-in-training continue to develop their interests and begin mastering the skills necessary for a career in science.

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Baltimore Science Slam #3 (hosted by Project Bridge and BUGSS)
IT’S TIME FOR SCIENCE SLAM AGAIN!!! Join us for our 3rd installment of an evening of intriguing and diverse science topics!
Project Bridge and BUGSS will host 6-8 local scientists (gradstudents, postdocs, citizen scientists, etc) to present their work/passion in 5 minutes. We give prizes to the talks that are most creative and best communicated! This is a great way to connect with others, learn diverse topics of science going on right here in Charm City, gain communication skills and experience, enhance chances of collaboration and emerging projects and ideas!
Join us and bring your friends for a fun night don’t miss out on this exciting science filled evening at BUGSS!
Please contact if you’d like a chance to present or know someone who might.
Definitely check out our first Science Slam here to see why this is an not-to-miss event: up here:


BUGSS Lab Meet-up Community Projects!!
Join us for our BUGSS Lab Meet-up on Friday February 17th 7-9pm!In this meeting we will be introducing our new Member Community Lab Meet-ups!
Based on a survey of our members, and potential members, we have decided to initiate lab meet-ups that will focus on a few different community projects. Not surprisingly, our BUGSS community is interested in ALL THE THINGS! Meaning we really had a hard time zeroing in on just one topic because of the interest and curiosity in biology that spans across many disciplines. We want to take that interest and make it a reality! Let’s meet-up to learn, tinker, and explore!
· Members will enter into a “Project Team” (or teams if interested in more than 1) centered on a topic of interest.
o Bioreactor/lab- equipment build project
o Environmental/Ecology project
o Estrogen sensor project
o Mushroom project
o Bio-printing project
· Monthly meet-ups for each project will be scheduled, but teams can arrange to meet up more frequently if they would like.
· Teams will be asked to submit a proposal (details given during this meeting) to WIN a BUGSS Community Project Award for money that could be used for supplies necessary to advance the project.
Not a member yet but really want to join a community project, or at least learn more? Come to this meeting to make connections! Can’t make this meeting? Let us know and we can add you on Skype or take your information for future meet-ups (please contact Sarah – These projects will be valuable for our BUGSS community to work as a team to tinker, learn, explore, and accomplish some fantastic projects with biology! 

Sign up here: Baltimore iGEM team meeting
Saturday, February 18, 2017 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Do you know any high school students that would be interested in hands-on learning in the lab by building with biology this summer? Do you want to help mentor students in the lab this summer while overseeing an incredible project? Come stop by BUGSS on Saturday the 18th at 2pm! We will have applications for high school students on site. Please inquire if you would like to contribute to mentorship of these students this summer via

Want to learn more about the team. Check out these links to the articles published so far on our iGEM team Baltimore BioCrew. and The Sun. Here is a link to the Baltimore BioCrew’s iGEM wiki page
During this session:
1) We are fortunate to have a fantastic speaker Dr. Eric Schott from IMET (Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology). He will be talking about his work detecting different bacterial species in our waterways and the harbor. He will also be discussing the problem of micro plastics in the bay!
2) We will have the team discuss their ideas for design and diagram of a structure (bioreactor, composter, under the ship contraption, or whatever idea) that we could build to test our plastic-eating bacteria this summer.

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Lab Skills Nights! – Restriction Digestion of Plasmid DNA
Two separate event dates: Thursday, February 9 at 7:00 PM | Thursday, February 23 at 7:00 PM

We are now offering Learn a Lab Skill Nights!
To help work around busy schedules, two nights a month we will offer a hands-on learning experience of a specific technique. The month of February we will be teaching Restriction Digestion on both days. Future months we will cover additional techniques including: Polymerase Chain Reaction, DNA Ligation, DNA Transformation, and others to follow. Those interested in Digital Badges please inquire! You have the poteinal to earn these with each session via Credly.
Restriciton Digestion: We will be learning how to set up (one of the most used reactions in the lab) the enzyme reaction! Using enzymes derived from bacteria we will be able to “cut” the covalent bonds of the DNA backbone to release different sized DNA fragments. We can discuss this process during class in more detail.
This will be an immersive hands-on class so be prepared to attend the full 2 hours and listen carefully. Additional material will be available to help understand concepts and basic biology of this technique and applications.
Non-members $15, members FREE – Spots limited!

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