Friday, March 5, 2010

New gene analysis equipment obtained with biotechnology grant

The Department of Biology/Toxicology is excited to have a new piece of research equipment.  This new machine from Applied Biosystems is used for real-time PCR, a technique that measures levels of gene expression, or how much certain genes are being "read" by cells to make specific proteins.  This new machine will allow us to examine the changes in gene expression associated with disease, as well as the normal changes that occur during development.  Dr. Steve Fenster (pictured) has co-authored a book chapter on real-time PCR, and is training Ashland undergraduate research students to use the technique in their investigations of nervous system development.

This new equipment was purchased as part of a federal grant to the Bioscience Consortium of Northeast Ohio, of which Ashland University is a member.  Grant funds for this machine, as well as for some additional molecular biology equipment, are being used to support our department's new Biotechnology program.  This Fall we will be offering a new Introduction to Biotechnology course, and students in our Cell Biology and Molecular Biology courses will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience examining gene expression using this new machine.

Ashland University successfully partnered with members of the Bioscience Consortium in winning a Choose Ohio First Scholarship grant from the Ohio Board of Regents that will help provide scholarship funds to students pursuing degrees in Biology, Biochemistry, Environmental Science and Toxicology.

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