Bioscience workshops in Ibiza

They have studied genetic modification as well as the decomposition of plastics and hydrocarbons

The workshop moment, with the intervention of Tony Montero, Jimena Domínguez, and researcher Paula Corbin | Maja Lopez Arriazo

Two laboratory researchers were brought in Sciences To students biology The fourth year of ESO was in a science workshop that lasted all morning in which they were able to develop a vaccine, grow crops and observe microorganisms. It is one of the activities of the Amgen TransferSciencia program that aims to improve science learning, especially genetics and biotechnology, by providing a broader and more complete science education to young people and an opportunity for active researchers to explain what they do in their laboratories.

Probiotics

Paula Corbin, a predoctoral researcher at the Institute for Integrative Systems Biology in Valencia, led the experimental session at IES sa Colomina. A workshop consisting of explaining what the components of probiotics are, their purpose, and developing an experiment.

Probiotics are microorganisms of natural origin that can typically be found in fermented beverages or even in human samples as intestinal microbiota. Corbin defines it as follows: “It's bacteria that when we eat them what they do is a health benefit, and we usually have probiotics that are already in our digestive tract that these probiotics also become part of and help stimulate our immune system. Be able to confront pathogens. “They can also be used to reduce fat deposits, for people with atopic skin or with celiac disease, as they have many different applications and depending on the probiotic, their benefits also vary for human health.”

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The students grew cultures of probiotic bacteria in Petri dishes to grow them in a solid medium that allowed them to be visualized and studied.

Then they produced a vaccine based on probiotics. In this activity, they explained how genetic modification can be made so that probiotics express an antigen, i.e. a protein that the pathogen expresses and activates our immune system. The result is that probiotics, when taken orally, can contain the antigen so that the immune system is activated and generates antibodies, which is another way to develop antibodies to counter that pathogen.

Plastic degradation

In parallel at IES San Agustí, Angela Vidal, also a pre-doctoral researcher, presented a workshop on plastic decomposition. They practice bioprospecting, where they study different natural environments to find out what microorganisms exist in different areas. As well as the decomposition of hydrocarbons, samples were taken from gasoline and diesel tanks, to cultivate bacteria and see if there were any microorganisms capable of decomposing hydrocarbons. This could be applied to address an oil spill, for example, where bacteria are responsible for decomposing that oil.

Shimina, a student at the centre, believes that these activities are an effective way to understand what they are studying: “I think it is very good that the institute offers these experiences to students so that they can learn and see better what we are studying in the classroom. “You get used to learning the theory and the experience is also a fun way to train.” Another student, Tony Montero, expressed that “it is very interesting to be able to verify what we have learned in a class taught by a scholar who is really dedicated to it.”

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Aileen Morales

"Beer nerd. Food fanatic. Alcohol scholar. Tv practitioner. Writer. Troublemaker. Falls down a lot."

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