Document Type

Conference Presentation

Publication Date





biology instruction, Dordt College, molecular biology, laboratory experiments, Y2H clones


A challenge with upper level biology labs is that experiments cannot normally be done in a 3-hour window. It can also be a challenge to stay motivated when doing labs with predetermined outcomes. Third, a “one size fits all” laboratory can be boring for those of us with previous experience. Finally, having to share a small lab space with many classmates simultaneously makes working efficiently difficult. An unexpectedly large enrollment in our molecular biology lab course provided our professor with an opportunity to use a class project to address the above concerns. One of our professors has a collection of clones from an initial Y2H screen for proteins that interact with a myosin protein. Each of us was assigned 3 clones in yeast that we characterized. This included plasmid isolation from yeast, transformation of E. coli, plasmid isolation from E. coli, DNA quantitation, restriction analysis, DNA sequencing, and BLAST analysis to identify and characterize our clones. We could not begin our research until we had verbally demonstrated understanding of the Y2H system to the instructor. We needed our lab notebook signed before each step in the process, which we could then do at any time the lab was open. Results were presented in a formal lab report. This approach allowed us to take ownership of our projects, troubleshoot problems, and learn techniques on our own. It also staggered the use of lab space and facilities, allowing more of us to work on our own time, while less experienced students could use the regular time block with more instructor availability. This lab was a positive learning experience; we got a better feel for the nature of scientific research, gained independence in the lab and were more invested in obtaining results.


Poster presented at the 5th Annual FUTURE in Biomedicine Symposium held on the campus of the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Iowa, August 2, 2013.