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Budding Scientists Visit Cold Spring Harbor Labs

A partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratories gave Massapequa High School science students a chance to learn at one of the world’s premier research facilities. Students from the science research program at the high school’s main and Ames campuses visited the lab’s Dolan DNA Learning Center on Dec. 7 for a full-day training session.

In addition to speaking with scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, students got to do their own scientific experimentation. They genetically engineered bacteria to acquire resistance to antibiotics; extracted, amplified and separated DNA by agarose electrophoresis; and analyzed genetic information to establish evolutionary relationships between organisms.  

Ninth graders Madeline D., Edward P. and Shea R. are working on a research project this year in which they are looking to use good bacteria as a safe and environmentally friendly way to reduce iron chloride pollution that can be harmful to animals and plants. They said the trip to Cold Spring Harbor Labs allowed them to become more proficient with science equipment, like Bunsen burners, micropipettes and inoculating loops, that they will be working with.

“We used a lot of tools that we’re going to use this year,” Shea said.

Edward said that he really enjoyed interacting with the professionals at the lab who have so much knowledge to share. Madeline added that the experience in a lab setting will be very valuable throughout her time in Massapequa’s science research program.

Michael L. said that he learned how to perform a “clean experiment,” while research partner Finn C. added that it was thrilling to visit the lab where the structure of DNA was once discovered. Michael, Finn and Sofia M. are working together on a project on how nitrogen in fertilizer affects algae growth in lakes.