Solis BioDyne helped students be scientists for a day

It is always nice when an opportunity rises to contribute to the development of future scientists. From 14th until 25th of March 208 high school students from all around Estonia got to participate at the Genetic Workshops taking place at the University of Tartu Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. These workshops gave the students a possibility to be real scientists for a day. Since we are very curious about all the possibilities that science has to offer, it was great that we got to share that curiosity with youngsters and bring out their passion for science.

Each day two workshops took place in parallel, so the high school students got to choose which one they would like to participate in. One of them was a forensics workshop, where the participants got the opportunity to identify the criminal using DNA samples left at a (fictional) crime scene. The other one allowed the students to test whether they had a genetic mutation CCR5-Δ32 that makes them immune to all the R5 strain HIV variants. CCR5-Δ32 mutation was chosen because it’s the most common one in Northern Europe.
Students from Tartu Jaak Peterson Gymnasium at the HIV workshop. Photo by Andres Tennus, University of Tartu.

As most of the youngsters were quite new to the world of science, they also learned how to use automatic pipets, do PCR and gel electrophoresis and what is the difference between science done on TV and in real life. In addition, they got to ask all the questions about doing science at the university, future prospects of studying biology or gene technology, what it’s like being a university student etc.

The workshops were conducted by the university students from the Bioscience Students´ Association whose main goal is to develop future bioscientists and popularize science in the society. For some of them it was their very first time teaching others, but it gave a lot of confidence in trying something like this again in the future. 

The event was financed by the Estonian Research Council and Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology. The latter also helped with the acquisition and preparation of all necessary materials for the workshops.
Students from Tartu Jaak Peterson Gymnasium at the HIV workshop. Photo by Andres Tennus, University of Tartu.

Solis BioDyne contributed to this event by giving the reagents necessary to do the experiments and also rewards to the high school students who managed to pay attention the most during the workshop and win the epic quiz at the end.
From the left: Katariina Kordemets (main organizer of the event), student from Tartu Jaak Peterson Gymnasium and Greete Urvak (instructor). Photo by Andres Tennus, University of Tartu.

By the end of the day all the youngsters were very happy to have gotten the opportunity to participate in a workshop, which was completely free. Certainly some of them are now seriously considering coming to study biology or gene technology at the University of Tartu and perhaps joining Solis BioDyne in the future.

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