Hopkinton students study bioinformatics

  • From left to right: Grace Hodgdon, Connor Allen, Merrick Chapin, Brayden Crawford, Cody Charron, Michael Pantano, Noah Aframe, Gavin Lawless, Flo Dapice, and Dr. Geoff Cook can be seen here reviewing how to collect samples from around the school using sterile swabs and Petri Dishes with nutrient agar. Courtesy

  • Olive Alencar and Gavin Lawless swab the inside of the Leopard Gecko’s mouth.

  • Students attend NEC college to conduct a PCR experiment.

  • D'Aleczandria Johnson tries Virtual Reality programs to learn about molecular structures.

  • Abi Hotten-Somers and Kennedy Mark prepare food to feed to see anemones.

  • Patrick Martin prepares to move coral to a different tank for feeding and studying.

  • Students work together to identify macroinvertebrates and determine if they are indicator species.

Published: 6/5/2023 3:00:12 PM

Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field where computer programs are used to analyze immense amounts of complex biological data. The Human Genome Project is one example. Other initiatives include identifying unknown species by collecting DNA from a specimen, amplifying select marker genes using the polymerase chain reaction, sequencing these amplified products, and comparing the sequence reads from a sample against a universal database to enable identification.

Through these activities, students at Hopkinton High School are engaging in collecting and analyzing data precisely and accurately, critical thinking, problem solving, and so much more.

The goal is to participate in a pilot program as citizen scientists who contribute to a collaborative project with the Lake Sunapee Protective Association. With the help of Dr. Geoff Cook and others from New England College as well as the staff at LSPA, students will be collecting water samples from the lake to isolate environmental DNA from the water. The collected DNA will then be used to identify what invasive species are present in the lake; monitor bacterial communities, and potentially track fish populations. Hopefully no invasive species will be found, but if they are then LSPA will now be aware and can make plans to manage the situation.

As practice, students collected bacterial cells from various school surfaces and cultured them on standard growth agar in Petri dishes. Results were surprising in that cell phones were cleaner than expected while less surprising results included more bacteria found on water bottle mouth pieces and staircase railings. Students practiced micropipetting technique with a focus on accurate and precise data collection as well as learning how to use a common scientific tool/equipment. DNA was extracted from the bacterial cultures grown on the Petri dishes.

In May, students piloted a citizen scientist data collection project with Dr. Cook (NEC) and Dr. Elizabeth Harper and others from LSPA. The focus is on using eDNA found in water samples from the lake to determine if invasive species are present, track bacterial communities over time and space, and possibly monitor fish populations. In addition, students learned about the health of the watershed by studying cyanobacteria and macroinvertebrate populations in Lake Sunapee.

Stay informed with our free email updates
Concord Monitor Daily Headlines
Concord Monitor Breaking News
Concord Monitor Dining & Entertainment
Concord Monitor Report For America Education
Concord Monitor Report For America Health
Concord Monitor Real Estate
Concord Monitor Sports
Concord Monitor Suncook Valley
Concord Monitor Contests & Promotions
Concord Monitor Weekly Most Popular
Concord Monitor Granite Geek
Concord Monitor Monitor Marquee
Concord Monitor Hopkinton
Concord Monitor Politics
Concord Monitor MY CONCORD
Concord Monitor Franklin

Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301


© 2021 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy

Customer Service

Social Media


View All Sections

Part of the Newspapers of New England Family