Biology club prepares for DNA Day with field trip, activities

Bianca Flores, Staff Reporter

On Saturday, Feb. 16 and Saturday, Feb. 24, the biology club attended a workshop at the University of Chicago that taught the students basic coding skills in connection with analyzing DNA and biological calculations. According to Ms. Rebecca Dostatni, biology club sponsor, the club also may have an additional upcoming trip this month at the University of Chicago.

“That [upcoming] trip would be a tour of some of the biology labs at the University of Chicago and getting to talk to the researchers about their research and what led them to their careers in science,” said Bishop Noll sophomore Carmelina Komyatte.

Bishop Noll’s biology club had been working with the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago for the past few years. The workshop included laboratory tours and academic journal discussions of biology research.

“I really enjoyed learning about something entirely new and talking to really smart people who are doing exciting things. My favorite part was when one of the researches gave us a presentation about his work in paleontology and let us touch some of the human skulls that he has found,” Komyatte said.

A team of computational biologists invited the club to an Introduction of Programming workshop. The students also used real NASA data to understand the cardiovascular function of humans and how humans can potentially be harmed on a future mission to Mars. The biology club students learned many ways to use technology to further examine and compare human evolution/health.

“The biology club offers a lot of exposure to higher level biology, which is helping prepare us to take higher level science classes and be able to understand current research,” said Komyatte. “The biology club gives us the means to be more confident in our scientific ability and the confidence to commit to and be excited about a career in science.”

Currently, the group is working hard in preparation for DNA Day, April 25, which commemorates the day in 1953 when scientists published papers on the structure of DNA. The biology club has a whole day of fun events planned out for the student body. They will be selling DNA cookies, hiding chromosomes throughout the school for students to find matching ones and turn them in for prizes, and they will even post DNA memes in the hallways. At lunch, they will be asking questions for prizes. Lastly, there will be a raffle to win a DNA test from 23andme.

“I think I’m excited for our raffle this year. The top prize in the raffle is a 23 & Me kit for DNA analysis,” said Mrs. Dostatni, Bishop Noll’s biology teacher.