Written by Guest Blogger, Sharon Price

Students: During a 1 week bootcamp at Miramar College this summer, I prepared students for internships at local research institutes and life science companies. This preparation involved teaching them basic lab skills and introducing them to tools and techniques commonly used in the life science industry.

Students performed a PCR lab and used gel electrophoresis to analyze the results of their genotypes for a particular allele in a non-coding region of DNA. In a side by side test…Just as Coke and Pepsi has done for years!!! Students prepared and poured gels using traditional gel electrophoresis equipment (25mls/gel) and the new Mini-one system (10mLs/gel). Samples were loaded and it was off to the races for the results…the MiniOne System won hands down. Merely five minutes into the gel run students were able to see their GelGreen stained DNA bands by peering through the compact MiniOne hoods. Did you catch that I said “GelGreen stained” DNA bands?!?!? Let me expound here a bit!

This amazing little system not only allows you to see DNA in real time but the technology is such that it uses GelGreen a safe DNA staining reagent to stain DNA bands and a blue light (not UV light) to visualize the DNA bands. The students were AMAZED, EXCITED and could not take their eyes off their DNA bands! They loved being able to see what was happening in the gel box in REAL TIME!!! As one of them said “this is AHHHMAZING”!!!

Teachers: The 10th year anniversary of the Life Sciences Summer Institute (LSSI) was marked by bringing 30 LSSI Alumni teachers together for a 3 day workshop to vet the updated Amgen Biotech Experience Curriculum, followed by training 17 new teachers on the updated ABE curriculum. A HUGE highlight of the teacher programs was introducing them to a major advancement in gel electrophoresis technology-the MiniOne System!! Teachers were truly impressed by the compact, user friendly, time saving MiniOne system. They loved that each gel requires only 10mLs of agarose solution and that results of a dye lab could be obtained in 10 minutes. Additionally each MiniOne system comes with a p20 micropipette. Many of the teachers said “this is exactly what we need to teach our students real world labs—equipment that is compact, affordable and efficient”!

After testing the MiniOne prototype for EmbiTec and putting it to the test in our Who done it and PCR labs we loved it so much we purchased 30 of these dynamic little systems to use with our outreach activities with local high school and middle school students and teachers!!