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McGuffey Montessori High school students visit CPB lab at Miami

McGuffey Montessori High school students recently visited the Chemical, Paper, and Bioengineering Department (CPB) lab at Miami University.  McGuffey Montessori High school student in CPB lab

Assistant Professor Jason Boock led these students through hands-on work to discover and characterize enzymes. 

Boock started by making sure the students knew their proper lab etiquette, then he worked with them on their lab techniques, such as using pipettes for small volumes.  

They then began their work by setting up a restriction enzyme digest, which is the operation of cutting DNA molecules into smaller fragments using special enzymes. Using online tools, they were able to predict the outcome of their experiment and to further understand how pieces of DNA can be “pasted” back together to build new sequences. 

While the reaction was running, the students learned about how to design, study, and produce proteins, such as antibodies and enzymes. 

Next, the students determined the amino acid sequence encoded by their DNA and learned how that sequence creates the complex structures that make up proteins. McGuffey Montessori High school students in CPB lab

These structures were then visualized using the protein data bank to look at how shape can change the function of the protein, as well as how even small changes to the sequence can influence the structure. They even looked at recently discovered mutations on the SARS-CoV2 (Covid-19) surface. 

At the end of the day, the students returned to the laboratory to perform DNA electrophoresis,  a laboratory technique used to separate protein molecules based on their electrical charge and size. Analyzing the results from their restriction, they found their computational predictions were correct with bands at expected sizes. 

These students were given a wonderful opportunity to come into a larger laboratory setting and delve deeper into worthy subjects. 

The College of Engineering and Computing welcomes the opportunity to share their knowledge and research with K-12 students in the tristate area.  

Please contact Joanna Hohn at hohnj@miamioh.edu if you are interested in a tour of any of the Engineering or Computing departments. Information gathered by Joanna Hohn. 

By Kayleigh Schauseil, CEC Reporter