Cutting Edge Science at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole

On Wednesday morning, March 1, the entire junior class headed off to Woods Hole to participate in a three day intensive at the Marine Biological Labs (MBL). After students got settled, they had an orientation, lunch, and then got to work! Each junior participated in one of three courses — “Anatomy and Physiology of Aquatic Organisms”, “CRISPR/CAS9 Genome Editing of Aquatic and Marine Organisms”, or “Exploring Hidden Biodiversity with DNA Sequencing.”

The teachers of the courses are some of the most experienced researchers in their field, and students were fortunate to get to learn from them both via lecture as well as in the lab. The students had the opportunity to work in the MBL labs on a number of very complex scientific processes such as dissecting five different vertebrate and three invertebrate species, calibrating and using pico-liter injectors, and running a PCR on DNA from collected water samples. 

The equipment and facilities at the MBL are world class, and it was such a unique experience for our students to get to take part in. Most people who come to MBL are undergraduate students, doctoral fellows, or post docs. This experience allowed our students to have an early glimpse into the world of scientific research. 

Beyond the individual courses that students participated in, each group also got to visit the Marine Resources Center and see the organisms housed there, like hermit crabs, skate, and sea stars. Another highlight was getting to visit the library. Students handled books from the 1600s, a signed 6th edition of Darwin’s Origin of the Species, and a Nobel Prize from 1933. The magic of having access to all of these resources was a once in a lifetime experience. On the final night, the students were able to meet with a panel of women scientists from MBL. Each scientist spoke about their experience as a woman in science and gave our students advice on how to navigate the often male dominated field. 

Our students did an incredible job immersing themselves in the program. So much of what they are learning in Biology this year allowed them to make the most of their experience at the MBL. Throughout the program, students were able to get hands-on experience with cutting edge research techniques and equipment, as well as embrace the excitement and discomfort of doing things that were new and challenging. 

The science faculty are looking forward to building off of this experience after the students return to school. It is such an exciting time to be a science student at Lincoln School!