ERIC Number: EJ1087791
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Expression, Purification, and Characterization of a Carbohydrate-Active Enzyme: A Research-Inspired Methods Optimization Experiment for the Biochemistry Laboratory
Willbur, Jaime F.; Vail, Justin D.; Mitchell, Lindsey N.; Jakeman, David L.; Timmons, Shannon C.
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, v44 n1 p75-85 Jan-Feb 2016
The development and implementation of research-inspired, discovery-based experiences into science laboratory curricula is a proven strategy for increasing student engagement and ownership of experiments. In the novel laboratory module described herein, students learn to express, purify, and characterize a carbohydrate-active enzyme using modern techniques and instrumentation commonly found in a research laboratory. Unlike in a traditional cookbook-style experiment, students generate their own hypotheses regarding expression conditions and quantify the amount of protein isolated using their selected variables. Over the course of three 3-hour laboratory periods, students learn to use sterile technique to express a protein using recombinant DNA in "E. coli," purify the resulting enzyme via affinity chromatography and dialysis, analyze the success of their purification scheme via SDS-PAGE, assess the activity of the enzyme via an HPLC-based assay, and quantify the amount of protein isolated via a Bradford assay. Following the completion of this experiment, students were asked to evaluate their experience via an optional survey. All students strongly agreed that this laboratory module was more interesting to them than traditional experiments because of its lack of a pre-determined outcome and desired additional opportunities to participate in the experimental design process. This experiment serves as an example of how research-inspired, discovery-based experiences can benefit both the students and instructor; students learned important skills necessary for real-world biochemistry research and a more concrete understanding of the research process, while generating new knowledge to enhance the scholarly endeavors of the instructor.
Descriptors: Biochemistry, Laboratory Experiments, Science Experiments, College Science, Science Instruction, Discovery Learning, Laboratory Procedures, Student Surveys, Student Attitudes, College Students
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A