The Department of Biology hosted 21 students and two faculty members from Ruia College in Mumbai, India, from May 14 to June 10, 2017. Sponsored by the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the four-week Biotechnology Exploration Program was led by N. Bharathan, chair of the Biology Department.
A team of 12 faculty members provided fully integrated lecture laboratory activities and included Seema Bharathan, William Brenneman, Cuong Diep, Robert Hinrichsen, Megan Knoch, Robert Major, Christina Ruby, Thomas Simmons, Joe Townsend, Holly Travis, Michael Tyree, Dan Widzowski, and Will Hilinski of B&B Microscopes.
Ruia students completed field/laboratory proficiencies and presented their findings in the form of research posters. “The hands-on laboratory activities combined advanced techniques in biotechnology in the laboratory with field collection of samples,” Bharathan said. “The laboratory training included forensic DNA fingerprinting, DNA bar coding, RNA/DNA manipulations, stem cell research, bioinformatics, public health, and field ecology.”
The group also visited the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute of Molecular Medicine at Windber, ITSI-Biosciences, a drug discovery biotechnology facility, and the Center for Nanotechnology Education and Utilization at Penn State.
Ruia students enriched their experience in the U.S. with trips to Niagara Falls and Washington, D.C. organized by the Office of International Education, a co-facilitator of the program.