Bring your own sample: Identify fungi using DNA barcoding

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Date(s) - Sunday, April 14, 2019
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Biotech Without Borders

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For this hands-on workshop, you are invited to bring your own mystery fungus to identify (but you can use one of our fungal samples if you want). We will be using DNA barcoding to identify the unknown organism, no previous lab experience required. Participants will be coached by instructors through the laboratory techniques required to extract DNA from their sample and perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR). At the end of this session, participants will know some of the theory and practical aspects of DNA barcoding and working with fungi. The results of the barcode identification will be emailed to participants about a week later.

DNA barcoding is the process by which organisms are identified by comparing short sequences in their genome to similar specimens that have been previously sequenced. When paired with classical morphological observations, barcoding offers an improved understanding of evolutionary lineage and the potential to discover previously unknown organisms. We are eager to see the applied knowledge of this technology reach a wider audience and to inform the public about how molecular biology has influenced organism identification


About the Instructors

Danny Chan received his MSc in microbiology during the course of his PhD candidacy at the University of Chicago studying the interaction of methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) with lab-grown skin in an a department focused on infectious disease. He has been a research technician for many years in multiple fields including cellulostic ethanol production, protein crystallography, prefrontal cortex development and heat shock proteins. He seeks to apply his skills and knowledge of science in order to foster new institutions of research and learning. Currently, he makes his living fact checking pharmaceutical ads in an agency while trying to defend his time to pursue independent research centered around protocol development for the DIY science community and teaching. You can follow his activities online at or find him in person around NYC.

Craig M. Trester is a citizen scientist that applies biomimicry and permaculture principles through mycology to develop regenerative solutions. By studying Fungi, he believes novel approaches towards alternative agriculture, pharmacology, and bioremediation can be realized. Craig runs MYC, an applied mycology educational resource that teaches the benefits Fungi provide to our health, environment, and society to academic, research, community, and private audiences.