This week in Bioscience, we are extracting DNA! At first, I thought it was something that we could do easily by simply adding alcohol to the substance’s DNA and mixing it with water to get two layers and then see the DNA clearly in a tube. However, it was something totally different. Since we learned how to use micropipettes to measure liquids for the past few weeks, we were able to extract DNA in a more complicated way. We used a DNA extraction kit, which is the same protocol people around the world use to extract DNA in the lab. The steps were somewhat complicated since we had to mix a variety of solutions, measure small amounts of solutions, vortex the solutions, and incubate the solutions. It is fascinating to see how you get a small tube of DNA after all the complicated steps, and it highlights the importance of following a certain procedure to obtain accurate results and conclusions.
BioScience students attended the Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College on October 3. Before we went on this trip, we prepared by listening to speeches about the speakers who were giving the talks so that we would have a deeper understanding of the subjects that the speakers were presenting. One of the speakers was Dr. Jack Gilbert, a professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Chicago. He talked about how he and his colleagues use a crowdsourcing technique to study the microbiomes on the planet. The Earth Microbiome Project that Dr. Gilbert and his colleagues led revealed a vast diversity of microbiomes in the world and how they relate to humans and our communities.
In addition to the huge conference, we also attended a small field trip to downtown Faribault to watch a documentary: Being Mortal. The documentary talks about the inevitable issue of facing death and how doctors and patients should face this. The film discussed many cases in which patients and their family members have to face many tough times and decisions. The film gives people a different view of how to handle palliative care and what patients should do for the remaining time of their lives. This film encourages people to live their lives to their fullest because the ultimate goal is not to fight the end-stage disease but to find a way to live a good life. This film brought many of the BioScience students to tears and made us rethink this topic although this is not something kids around our age would normally discuss. This allows us to be more mature and take a step further to discuss something that requires us to contemplate.