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Engaging the Next Generation of Scientists

15 Feb 2018
Liza Tsesnokova, a secondary school student at Christ King Secondary School, describes her experience at the DNA workshop run by the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC

The fourth year BSc in Biochemistry students, Lorcan Bannon, Orla Brosnan, Denise Burns, Emer Cantillon, Roisin Cassidy, Kevin Foley, Klaudia Juda, Cora Steemers, Peter Townsend and Erika Vasiliauskaite demonstrated a DNA Workshop to secondary school students attending Christ King Secondary School. They all did an excellent job explaining the experiments to the students, demonstrating how to use the equipment and answering the students questions.

Fourth year biochemistry group of students who demonstrated at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry UCC to Christ King secondary school students. Demonstrators were (back row from left): Kevin Foley, Emer Cantillon, Peter Townsend, Cora Steemers, Lorcan Bannon. Demonstrators (front row form left): Roisin Cassidy, Klaudia Juda, Denise Burns, Erika Vasiliauskaite & Orla Brosnan.

Fourth year biochemistry group of students who demonstrated at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry UCC to Christ King secondary school students. Demonstrators were (back row from left): Kevin Foley, Emer Cantillon, Peter Townsend, Cora Steemers, Lorcan Bannon. Demonstrators (front row form left): Roisin Cassidy, Klaudia Juda, Denise Burns, Erika Vasiliauskaite & Orla Brosnan.

 

Dr Sinéad Kerins would like to thank all the demonstrators for making the students very welcome and providing the students with a highly educational and enjoyable experience. Dr Kerins would also like to thank Roisin Cassidy for describing how she found the experience from a demonstrator’s perspective and Liza Tsesnokova for describing the DNA workshop from a student’s perspective.

Roisin Cassidy: my experience as a demonstrator

Roisin Cassidy, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

Roisin Cassidy, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

 

This was my first experience demonstrating and I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch of students. They were all so kind and showed a great interest in wanting to learn and be involved. We first analysed DNA samples from a family to assess if members have a faulty b-globin gene, which is implicated in sickle cell anemia. We initially showed the students how to set up restriction enzyme digestions, pour agarose gels and load the DNA samples into the wells of agarose gels. The students then carried out DNA extraction from peas and their own cheek cells by releasing the DNA from the nuclease with detergents that broke open the membrane of the cells. The students were allowed take their DNA home with them if they wished, which they were all very excited about.

Roisin Cassidy, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

Overall, my first experience of demonstrating was made highly enjoyable by a great bunch of students who showed great enthusiasm and participation. I hope they enjoyed the day as much as I did!

Liza Tsesnokova: my experience as a student

Liza Tsesnokova, Secondary School student at Christ King Secondary School

Today my school, Christ King, had the opportunity to visit UCC, in particular its Biochemistry & Cell Biology School. Of all my previous visits to UCC this had to be the most inspiring and educational experience I’ve ever had. The day started with a lecture from Dr Sinéad Kerins and the information presented to us was at a third level standard, which made it very engaging. We learned about the structure of DNA, RNA, how a DNA encodes a protein and lastly about a disease called sickle cell anemia. After a short break we made it back to the Western Gateway Building where we were brought to the labs and where all the fun began! We started with our main experiment: Detection of sickle cell anemia. With the help of fourth year Biochemistry students we set up experiments which allowed us to determine whether patients had the disease, carried the disease or didn’t have the disease. We then proceeded with smaller, simpler experiments like: Isolation of DNA from green peas and lastly isolating DNA from our own cheek cells. Working in the labs for most of our day was the highlight of my experience at the DNA Workshop. It gave us a first-hand understanding of Biochemistry at third level and helped us to become familiar with college life altogether. No doubt I would absolutely do this again and I will definitely recommend it to future fifth years. 

 

Secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

A scene from the DNA workshop held at the School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, UCC

 

Lorcan Bannon, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC.

Lorcan Bannon, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC.

 

Orla Brosnan, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to a secondary school student from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

Orla Brosnan, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to a secondary school student from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

 

Cora Steemers, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

Cora Steemers, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

 

Erika Vasiliauskaite, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

Erika Vasiliauskaite, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

 

Peter Townsend, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

Peter Townsend, 4th year Biochemistry student, demonstrates to secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School at the DNA workshop held in the School of Biochemistry, UCC

 

A group of secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School concentrate on loading a gel

A group of secondary school students from Christ King Secondary School concentrate on loading a gel.

 

School of Biochemistry and Cell Biology

Scoil na Bithcheimice agus na Cillbhitheolaíochta

University College Cork, Western Road, Cork.

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