Posted by on January 4, 2013
Jan 042013

Quincy High School was awarded $94,469.05 in grant funding to retrofit a science classroom with advanced Life Science/Biology/Biotechnology laboratory equipment and materials.

Although Quincy High School is a new facility, the increased enrollment has overwhelmed the original design of the building and more class sections were necessary to prevent overcrowding and unsafe lab conditions. To address overcrowding in 2010, the Science Department was given one large multipurpose classroom which lacks the counters, storage space, utilities, and safety equipment necessary to perform biotechnology laboratories.

The Biotechnical Engineering course at Quincy High School has a broad curriculum and includes content from biology, microbiology, chemistry, biochemistry, and anatomy/physiology. The course includes many lab activities with an inquiry approach meant to develop students’ abilities to problem solve; work collaboratively and present work in a professional format. The Biotechnical Engineering course will run several advanced level labs including a bacterial transformation with GFP plasmids, protein purification using high ion concentration (HIC) chromatography and a basic introduction to gel electrophoresis. The additional lab space and equipment will also allow the Biotechnical Engineering course to run annually rather than every few years and support the growing number of students that participate in the Quincy High School and Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Fairs.

The materials purchased will expand the curriculum, allowing more experiments using electrophoresis boxes and one additional experiment will allow DNA fingerprinting using restriction enzyme digests. These complex labs will give students a better understanding of how DNA samples are manipulated in order to obtain results and draw conclusions.

Much of the additional equipment will be comparable to those used by scientists in research labs and hospital clinics on a daily basis. Genetic engineering and protein manufacturing are used to solve problems ranging from drug discovery medical diagnostics to bioremediation and biodiesel. The advanced science practice students gain will make them more competitive in the college application and career readiness process.

As part of this grant initiative, Quincy High School will collaborate with Quincy College and Warner-Babcock Green Chemistry. Guest speakers will visit QHS classrooms and field trips will take students to both Quincy College Biotech labs and the Warner-Babcock Green Chemistry Headquarters in Wilmington, MA. Students will be given the opportunity to work directly with professionals and collegiate level biotechnology students on projects that include synthesizing an environmentally benign cleanser by degrading poly-lactic acid cups and dinnerware, creating a viable solar cell using recycled materials, synthesizing biodiesel fuels using household cooking oils, as well as extracting vitamin C from various fruits.

Background Information on Project Team

Quincy High School Faculty:

Matthew Howard began teaching chemistry at Quincy High School in 2006 after graduating from the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester Mass. with a B.A. in Chemistry and a concentration in Biochemistry. In 2010 he took over teaching the biotechnical engineering class as part of the Project Lead the Way program after gaining certification by completing a summer training course at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has also recently completed a Masters of Education program at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy.

Julie Krieger began teaching biology and ELL environmental science at Quincy High School in 2008 after graduating from Harvard University with a Masters in Education. Prior to Harvard, she earned her B.S. in general biology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. In the summer of 2008, she worked with the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry to provide a summer science enrichment program for highly motivated 8th and 9th graders. In the summers of 2011 and 2012, she supervised the Quincy Creek to Harbor Program, a 5 week summer science institute for academically at risk students. She currently teaches advanced biology and Advanced Placement environmental science at Quincy High School.

After graduating from Harvard College with a B.S. in biology at Harvard College in 1975, Lawrence Johnson became an instructor in Comparative Animal Physiology and Experimental Animal Physiology at Harvard College.   Subsequently, he traveled to South and Central America and taught native peoples applied chemistry using fiber reactive dyes in order to establish more environmentally benign native dye works in Ecuador, Peru, and Guatemala.  Lawrence began teaching at Quincy High School in the spring of spring of 2009 and currently teaches Life and Physical Science, ELL Biology and Horticulture, while mentoring Science students in experimental design.