We take part in a multifaceted array of outreach activities, particularly in the under-served neighborhoods of West Philadelphia. Besides designing and implementing professional development modules for high school teachers and providing in-class instruction to West-Philly students, we encourage classes to visit our lab. Additionally, each summer we also host at least one FGLI high school student from the Philadelphia School district in the lab through the Penn Laboratory Experience in Natural Sciences (PennLENS).
We develop high school experiments using our model organism H. volcanii. The experimental design for this project is unique in that while the experiment is sophisticated, teaching students about broad aspects of the fundamental elements of microbiology, most of the required ingredients can be purchased at a grocery store, and since this non-pathogenic organism requires high salt conditions for growth, sterile techniques are not required to prevent contamination and the risk of exposure to human pathogens is non-existent. For student protocols and teacher guides click here.
Simple H. volcanii DNA purification:
UV mutagenesis and photo repair:
The publication describing this experiment “Laboratory Activity to Promote Student Understanding of UV Mutagenesis and DNA Repair” is available here.
Together with Dr. Ingrid Waldron and Dr. Lori Spindler we organize Philadelphia high school teacher professional development workshops (student protocols and teacher guide).
Middle and high school students perform their science fair projects in our lab. Lab members also judge at the local high school science fair. Several students have earned prizes at the Carver Science Fair and the Delaware Valley Science Fair
Philadelphia middle-school students visit the lab