Grade 10 girls get an inside look at Dal's Biology Department
It was a whirlwind day of science for our Grade 10 girls who visited the Biology Department at Dalhousie University, thanks to a in-depth tour arranged by Arunika Gunawardena, Rajesh Rajaselvam and Clare Snow from the Department of Biology and Atlantic Science Links Association.
The girls took part in a hands-on cell biology lab where they examined and compared the cellular structure of healthy and dying plant cells, including preparing wet-mount slides using lace plant leaf tissues and then observing the different cell types under a compound light microscope. They toured some of the research labs and saw the Transmission Electron Microscope and Confocal Microscope. They then visited the Ruzzante Marine Gene Probe Lab where they saw a demonstration of DNA extraction using a robotic liquid handler and learned how to visualize DNA quality/quantity via agarose gels. Students also had the opportunity to view various equipment used in the lab including DNA sequencer, PCR machines, and centrifuge. The girls asked great questions about how these techniques could be put to practical use. Greg McCracken, our demonstrator, had plenty of stories about his research on fish populations in Labrador. Boris Worm and Lucija Prelovec gave an introduction to Ocean School, and the girls helped beta-test augmented reality technology that uses iPads to visualize the size of marine mammals. Carmen Mills gave a tour of the greenhouse and pointed out some interesting experiments and plant collections. And at the end of this biology-packed day, they toured the biology museum and the tissue culture labs. All of these activities gave the girls an inside and insightful look into what advanced research looks like at the graduate school level, and gave them all kinds of ideas for future studies and careers. Huge thanks to Arunika Gunawardena, Rajesh Rajaselvam, and Clare Snow and the other Dalhousie researchers for so generously sharing their time and expertise.