Junior High and High School Science teacher, Debbie Brenner, took part in the Amgen Biotechnology Experience (ABE) this past week. The Experience which is offered to science teachers to bring biotech labs into the classroom, takes place on the weekends at Fullerton and Pierce College.

“The ABE Foundation provides teachers with free training, consumables, and equipment to carry out six sequential labs,” shared Mrs. Brenner. “Students learn how to use the equipment (micropipettes, gel electrophoresis boxes, micro centrifuges, etc.) in the first lab. Then, students learn to restrict bacterial DNA. Finally, students purify the protein that is produced by the transformed bacteria. This mimics the process by which scientists produce many biologic medications, such as insulin and growth hormone.”

Mrs. Brenner then incorporates what she has learned at the Amgen experience into the classroom. “In January, all classes that I teach get to do some part of the sequence,” shared Mrs. Brenner. “Seventh grade Life Science students learn the basics of micro pipetting and then complete a forensic lab in which they investigate which of three dogs ate their homework. AP Biology students go through the entire sequence of labs, focusing on the structure and function of bacterial DNA and cell membranes.  Anatomy/Physiology students also complete the entire sequence, focusing on the function of the endocrine system.”

Secondary students look forward to participating in hands-on science labs. “Students enjoy lab activities, in which they design procedures to test the veracity of the concepts they’ve modeled and communicate using the vocabulary they’ve learned.”