Simply put, biology is hard but awesome! The rigor of a dense and taxing college-level biology class makes high school bio seem elementary. In high school, I learned the simple photosynthesis formula of carbon dioxide+water+sunlight yields glucose+oxygen. I skimmed the huge ocean of biology in high school, but at Lycoming, I dived into the water.
So far, we've learned the intricate mechanisms of photosynthesis; I learned the transfer of electrons from Photosystem 2 to Photosystem 1, the electron transport chain (ETC), and the Calvin cycle. I learned the functions of complicated molecules and compounds such as Nicotinamide adenide dinucleotide phosphate (NADP+) and its role in photosynthesis to create ATP and NADPH. My knowledge expanded further to another cellular process - respiration. My professor, Dr. Morrison, taught us the steps of cellular respiration: glycolysis, pyruvate oxidation, and the ETC. She also taught us to compare and contrast both processes to dive further into each process and learn more. All of this information was packed into one 50 minute lecture per week. Most of the fun occurred during the lab, however, making it my favorite time of the week
The 3-hour lab slot contained information as dense as an atom. My favorite lab was when I genetically modified bacteria. Dr. Morrison taught us the procedure of inserting PGLO DNA into the bacterial plasmid of Escherichia coli by using the restriction enzymes BamH1 and Xhol. I was able to track the genes of arabinose operon, beta-lactamase, and green fluorescent protein (GFP) to see if I successfully injected PGLO DNA into the bacteria when compared to a negative control. After DNA transformation, I placed the bacteria onto three plates; one plate contained arbinose sugar, one contained ampicillin, and the last one contained both. If PGLO was inserted properly, the operon gene would take up arabinose, beta-lactamase will let bacteria thrive and counteract cillin family antibiotics, and GFP would make the bacteria glow bright green under UV light. Then with gel electrophoresis, I determined if the restriction enzymes cut the DNA properly when compared to a marker DNA. The process itself was challenging, but with hard work, I was able to bask in the fruits of my labor when I manipulated the blueprint of life. If you are looking to major in biology, you can look forward to some amazing and mind-blowing experiments and information at Lycoming College.
Like I said at the beginning, biology is hard, but awesome! Read what other students have to say about Bio 110 here. Or, click below to learn more about our programs!