Visiting a World Leading Laboratory

Visiting a World Leading Laboratory

Accompanied by science teacher Jill Hirsch, Class 12 students in “Advanced Biology: Molecular Genetics” visited Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a global leader in biomedical research and education with programs in cancer, neuroscience, plant biology and quantitative biology to supplement their classroom learning. Founded in 1890, CSHL has been home to eight Nobel Prize winners and currently employs more than 600 scientists, students and technicians.

The visit began with a tour of the property where students were encouraged to take a closer look at the architecture and art that adorn the campus. A staircase models the structure of a virus and sculptures of polypeptides and ribosomes mark the pathways. The details in the surrounding environment reflect the institution’s historic and central role in the development of molecular genetics and biology.

Students visited various labs and met with scientists to see their work in progress and ask questions about their research. Their first lab tour was given by from Sessen Iohanne, whose research focus is on understanding how the dosage of trehalose, an important sugar for plant development and stress response, is controlled by regulating the expression of gene copies that produce trehalose. She is using maize as her model system to study how one gene copy can buffer alterations in trehalose dosage resulting from the loss of the other gene copy.

In another lab, Emily Isko detailed her research in neuroscience, studying the neural circuits underlying vocalizations in mice and using DNA sequencing technology to map their neural connections.

The visit concluded with a tour of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory archives by Ludmila Pollock, executive director of library and archives. Students reviewed documents spanning the history of molecular biology and discussed the roles of history and publishing in modern scientific research.