According to a release from the college, Bellevue College’s ComGen project, in which the college’s students conduct genetic research, is featured in the September 16 issue of “Science” magazine article about two-year colleges involving students in research.
The project, funded with a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant, is a graduate-school type project. Students maintain a lab notebook, isolate plasmid DVA, and run PCR while they sequence the genome of Pseudomonas fluorescens L5, 1-96, a bacterium that fights off a fungus that attacks wheat.
The article quotes BC faculty member Dr. Gita Bangera, a molecular biologist, who says she assumed her students would be perfectly capable of doing research and analyzing original research articles.
“The first time they do it, they’re terrified,” she is quoted in the “Science” article, noting that one daunting aspect is that the students have to look up many of the terms to simply understand the articles. “I say, ‘Yeah, you’re going to have to do that.’ They learn to ask and answer questions, which is really what research is about.”
The article also highlights other two-year colleges around the country that are involving students in research once reserved for four-year science programs.