Pre-college course teaches high school students about the medicinal properties of plants

This year Biology, Biochemistry, and Core Facilities staff, students, and faculty collaborated on the Drug Discovery: Medicinal Properties of Plants course. This 2-week course shared the richness of the Plant Cell Culture Library as both a research and an educational resource with high school students in the UMass Summer Precollege program. This year our enrollment increased from 5 to 11, including several local students, 1 international student, and others from as far away as Texas and California. Students attended faculty lectures, propagated plants at the Morrill Greenhouse, visited research labs, pressed local plant specimens in the herbarium, designed primers, performed DNA extractions, PCR, agarose gel electrophoresis, and a disc diffusion assay, toured the Nourse Farms strawberry propagation center in Whately, designed and printed 3D models of plant metabolites, and presented their findings at a poster session in the Life Science Laboratories Conference Center. We are very proud of what our students have accomplished in 2 weeks and hope to see them on campus again soon. Thank you to all who supported our students' success in this course!