Hands On @ Otago


Loading an agarose gel with DNA

A student loads DNA onto an agarose gel.

Secondary School students from around New Zealand recently spent a week at Otago University getting hands on experience in a number of the disciplines taught here. The students who chose Biochemistry spent their time in the Department laboratories learning about the Central Dogma of molecular biology (how the information stored in DNA is transmitted and expressed in cells).

Students purified DNA and cut it up with restriction enzymes (molecular scissors), they joined together pieces of DNA from different organisms and learnt how proteins are made from genes. They also learnt how these techniques could be used to make proteins for both research and biotechnological applications.

Hands On @ Otago replaces the Hands On Science programme, with a wider range of courses available in humanities as well as science. University staff are grateful for the opportunity to give back to the community by running these summer camps, and it is a joy to see the interest and excitement the students show.