Biotech-in-a-box for Louisa County High School class

Louisa County high school teacher, Kathy Richardson, instructs her advanced placement biology class on the beginning of their experiment on immunology.

Louisa County High School’s sophomore Advance Placement biology class, taught by Kathy Richardson, is getting a chance to undertake advanced science experiments thanks to free biotechnology kits from Virginia Tech’s Fralin Life Science Institute.

For 18 years, the Institute has been providing participating Virginia high schools with complete kits which allow students to perform college level experiments.

According to Richardson, high schools request which experiments they would like to borrow and schedule what days they would like to perform the experiments.

In turn, the Institute sends plastic 12.5 gallon red boxes filled with all the supplies the class will need to perform the enclosed experiment with the only requirement being the schools send the equipment back when the experiment is completed.

“A lot of times they send us things that wouldn’t be in a high school lab,” Richardson said. “It’s really interesting to get college-level stuff for them to actually work and play with.”

On Dec. 7, Richardson’s class ran the “Introduction to Immunology” experiment, which explored the use of antibodies as tools in a diagnostic test. The students learned how diseases spread using advanced technology commonly found in medical and forensic laboratories.

“They are working with pathogens and these aren’t harmful to them, but it gives the lab results as if they were working with real things that could make them sick,” Richardson said. “They get to see how infection spreads without it being harmful to them.”

To read the entire story, see the Dec. 13 edition of The Central Virginian.

By tcvnews
Posted on Thursday, December 13, 2012 at 11:47 am