Eastern Kentucky University

Poster Title

Modernizing the Science Classroom: An Introduction to RNA Interference

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

Abstract

A major goal of today's collegiate science instructors is creative modernization of the curriculum while maintaining fiscal responsibility. Cutting edge laboratory techniques such as RNA interference (RNAi) are possible given a little molecular ingenuity. This poster outlines the process of introducing RNAi in a molecular biology classroom. RNAi consists of exploiting evolved molecular machinery that degrades messenger RNA in a series of steps, reducing protein production by silencing genes of interest. The course module has two sections: a lecture section, in which the instructor teaches the underlying theory of RNAi, and a wet-lab section, where students gain hands-on experience with the technology. The wet-lab experiment consists of the application of RNAi so as to lyse fetal rhesus monkey kidney cells, which can be housed in any microbiology laboratory with a biosafety level of 1 or above. The RNAi primers were developed using bioinformatic resources. By lysing the cells, a student can visually see the effects of the procedure through a microscope, and avoid expensive and unnecessary tracking chemicals such as fluorescence. With this laboratory, students at any university will gain hands-on experience with RNAi, one of the most cutting edge and provocative new areas of molecular research with implications that span conservation, the furthering of the base of scientific knowledge, and perhaps the next groundbreaking treatment of disease. The RNAi laboratory presented here will make tomorrow's students more competitive after graduation, as well as modernize the science classroom.

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Modernizing the Science Classroom: An Introduction to RNA Interference

A major goal of today's collegiate science instructors is creative modernization of the curriculum while maintaining fiscal responsibility. Cutting edge laboratory techniques such as RNA interference (RNAi) are possible given a little molecular ingenuity. This poster outlines the process of introducing RNAi in a molecular biology classroom. RNAi consists of exploiting evolved molecular machinery that degrades messenger RNA in a series of steps, reducing protein production by silencing genes of interest. The course module has two sections: a lecture section, in which the instructor teaches the underlying theory of RNAi, and a wet-lab section, where students gain hands-on experience with the technology. The wet-lab experiment consists of the application of RNAi so as to lyse fetal rhesus monkey kidney cells, which can be housed in any microbiology laboratory with a biosafety level of 1 or above. The RNAi primers were developed using bioinformatic resources. By lysing the cells, a student can visually see the effects of the procedure through a microscope, and avoid expensive and unnecessary tracking chemicals such as fluorescence. With this laboratory, students at any university will gain hands-on experience with RNAi, one of the most cutting edge and provocative new areas of molecular research with implications that span conservation, the furthering of the base of scientific knowledge, and perhaps the next groundbreaking treatment of disease. The RNAi laboratory presented here will make tomorrow's students more competitive after graduation, as well as modernize the science classroom.