Lab Skills Workshops: How to Cut and Measure DNA

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Date(s) - Saturday, February 16, 2019
2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Biotech Without Borders

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Prepare & Analyze a DNA molecular weight ladder

How does a scientist know how large a fragment of DNA is? A routine answer is: by comparing it 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. In this workshop you will get experience using restriction enzymes, pipettes, gel electrophoresis equipment, heat block and transilluminator to visualize your work.

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.

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 a model system of organotypic human keratinocytes in an infectious disease focused department. 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. The common set of skills underlying his practice are molecular biology and scientific inquiry which he aspires to apply to society 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. You can follow his activities online at or find him in person around NYC.