Dr. Mary Satterfield, Director
National Institute of Standards and Technology
100 Bureau Drive, Mail Stop 8310
Gaithersburg, MD 20899
Explores moving a gene into a harmless bacteria with a visual protein result
Dr. Alison Kraigsley talked about gene expression and the genetic code, and how the use of green fluorescent protein (GFP) has revolutionized the way we study gene expression. She explained how GFP is used, what it does, and some of the things we have learned. Intermixed with the lecture was information about the background of the scientist, how she became interested in science, her research at NIST, and why this is important information for teachers and students. After the interactive lecture we went to a nearby lab and Dr. Kraigsley walked the teachers through the steps of transforming E. coli with the plasmid for GFP, and then selecting transformed bacteria and growing them with detection with the use of a black light. The purpose of the experiment was to help teachers distinguish between gene transcription and translation, since the GFP gene is not fluorescent and the GFP protein is fluorescent. To learn this the teachers, and in turn their students, learn about how scientists work with bacteria, and the many ways GFP can be used to study cell biology and gene expression.