The Nelson Tech Club is organizing a two day DNA biosynthesis seminar in April with a geneticist through Synbiota

The Nelson Tech Club is organizing a two day DNA biosynthesis seminar in April with a geneticist through Synbiota

Glowing DNA anyone?

The Nelson Tech Club is organizing a West Kootenay biosynthesis seminar in April, which will be the first ever of its kind taught in BC.

Genetically engineering a strain of E. coli may not sound like child’s play to some, but the Nelson Tech Club is organizing a two day seminar to do just that in April. A DNA public teaching seminar slated to take place in Nelson on April 25 and 26 will be the first ever taught in BC. While still in the planning phase, Dr. John Dale of the Nelson Tech Club encourages people interested to sign up now.

The seminar will be held in the LVR School laboratory and is part of the Nelson Tech Club Makerspace agenda. The course will be offered by Synbiota, a Toronto based Open-Source organization who are dedicated to spreading the interest and ability to get into DNA research without the necessity of large corporate backing. Dr. Justin Pahara from Synbiota will be flying from Toronto to teach the seminar.

Participants will be modifying  a safe bacteria, creating a fluorescent glow. Dale said the workshop is for people of all walks of life “to learn cutting-edge synthetic biology” with absolutely no requirement of prior research experience.

“It’s a chance for students to get some real bioengineering experience,” he said.

Dale said the goal of the two day workshop goal is for participants to genetically engineer a safe strain of E. coli (most strains of E. coli are in fact safe) and engineer them to glow with an ultraviolet light, after the genetically modified bacteria is cultured.

This workshop involves learning some general information about DNA, genetics, and synthetic biology. Students will design a DNA circuit using software and build real DNA molecules based on their design.

The final step is to see what the engineered bacteria looks like the following day.

Dale said at this point the cost is $100- $125 per person (this includes everything needed and some pre-course reading) but the Club is raising donations through a kickstarter project with hopes to bring the cost down to $50. There is a 20 person limit for class registration.

Anyone interested can contact John Dale by email at jrdale@netidea.com or visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/1309494803/west-kootenays-biosynthesis-seminar-in-nelson-bc.