Lab Skills: Cutting and Measuring DNA

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Date(s) - Thursday, December 5, 2019
6:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Biotech Without Borders

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About lab skills workshops:

In this ongoing series of 1-2 day courses at Biotech without Borders, we’re inviting people of all skill levels together to complete a small teaching exercise in order to learn about laboratory work. We will cover the proper use of equipment and the real world application of the techniques being practiced.

Prepare & Analyze a DNA molecular weight ladder

How does a scientist know the length of a fragment of DNA? A routine approach is by comparing the fragment to other fragments of known sizes using a technique called gel electrophoresis. In this workshop, you will prepare your own DNA “ruler” by cutting a circular piece of DNA with enzymes called restriction endonucleases that act as tiny molecular scissors. The discovery of these enzymes in the 1970s was key to establishing the field of genetic engineering. Visualizing the resulting fragments of DNA on a gel is a technique used every day in labs all around the world. Participants will get hands-on experience using restriction enzymes, micropipettes, gel electrophoresis equipment, a heat block and a UV transilluminator.



Instructor 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.