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Students Visit Member Lab

BayBio member company OncoMed Pharmaceuticals hosted 13 seventh graders on November 16. The lab tour occurred through Bio-Community.org, the BayBio Institute’s platform to provide resources and science role models to students in grades 7-12.

An OncoMed scientist running an agarose gel for students

Yav Neh Day School and Dr. Aaron Sato, senior director of antibody engineering, connected through www.bio-community.org and Sato led the tour of the Redwood City-based OncoMed. He also conducted an experiment with the students to extract banana DNA using a lysate filter.

During the tour, Dr. Sato showed the students several areas of the lab.

Coordinating with staff, Sato had team members prepare for the demonstrations. Prior to the tour, one employee set up the robot to pick up plates during the tour to show how the firm grows bacterial colonies. Another team member set up agarose gel and demonstrated loading and initiating the gel run. The students visited the cell culture site and saw how OncoMed transfects DNA into cells to produce antibodies.

Prior to the tour, the students began the lysate filter. When they returned from the tour, the completed the experiment.

The BayBio Institute developed Bio-Community.org as a response to California’s declining education system and built it on the successful National Lab Day (NLD) platform. Bio Community.org provides critical support to under-resourced grade 7-14 classrooms and students with limited exposure to science and science role models.

California eighth graders currently rank 48th out of 50 states in science performance, and 45th in math. Every student in California should have access to the careers that have made Northern California one of the most innovative and respected life science clusters in the world. Most of these students do not. By harnessing the experience and passion of life science professionals, Bio Community.org facilitates meaningful collaborations that will profoundly impact STEM education in the region.