University of Pittsburgh
July 27, 2000

HIGH SCHOOL CAMPERS TO LEARN MOLECULAR BIOLOGY AT UNIVERSITIY OF PITTSBURGH

Contact:  412-624-4147

Pittsburgh, July 28 -- Sixteen Pittsburgh high school students will create an antibiotic-resistant E. coli bacteria as part of "Biology Research Camp,"

July 31- August 4, at the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Biological Sciences.

"The strain of the bacteria is non-pathogenic," said Douglas Chew, professor of biological sciences and camp instructor. "So no one will be in any danger from the bacteria."

In the E. coli experiment, students will add DNA containing an antibiotic resistance gene to some of the bacteria cells, while a control sample will be unaltered. The students will test whether the transformation took place by adding ampicillin, a common antibiotic, to both samples. If the experiment is successful, the ampicillin will kill the control sample, but the transformed E. coli will grow.

In another experiment, the young researchers—freshmen, sophomores and juniors from Ellis, Schenley and The Oakland School—will test a sample of their own DNA to learn about DNA fingerprinting.

The students also will visit working biological labs at Pitt, Magee-Womens Hospital, and the Pittsburgh Zoo and Aquarium as part of the camp, sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Program.

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Photo Editors: In the afternoon of Wednesday, August 2, the students will be conducting experiments in Pitt's Langley Hall. Call John Fedele at (412) 624-4148 to arrange photos of the students working.