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During my time doing research at Fredonia, I have gained a great deal of hands-on experience in the laboratory and feel like I have a much firmer grasp of the concepts I first learned in lectures. I've had to apply my conceptual knowledge of genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry and development, as well as my laboratory knowledge of making solutions, concentrations, acids and bases, and buffers.

For example, I've gained a deeper understanding of one of the most fundamental and important concepts in biology, the central dogma of molecular biology (DNA <-> RNA -> protein). In our research, we used a specific sequence of DNA to make RNA transcripts using a transcription kit, determined the concentration of RNA produced by quantifying it using spectrophotometry, and then created chemical solutions called for by a published protocol to react with certain regions of the transcripts for later analysis. We used reverse transcriptase to regenerate DNA from the modified RNA and then determined where potential secondary structures existed on the folded RNA it by running the DNA on a laser electrophoresis apparatus. We then fed this data into computer software which predicted possible
secondary structures of the RNA.

I was awarded a Fredonia summer research fellowship, and after doing research for a semester and a summer, I feel confident that I could take on projects of my own in future research. Not only that, but I've learned that I actually enjoy it very much, and it gives me a great sense of pride when I explain my project to friends and family (and to interviewers!!). I'd recommend doing research to any student who wants to learn how new scientific knowledge is actually discovered and to get a chance to work one-on-one with some great professors.

Dave DiPalma
Biology major, Class of 2013

Biology Department

  • 221 Science Center State University of New York at Fredonia Fredonia, NY 14063

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