Spring Student Program

Life Sciences Outreach invites high school biology classes and their teachers into Harvard's undergraduate biology teaching laboratories each spring. High school teachers choose one of several possible laboratory topics when they apply for the program. MCB, OEB and Systems Biology graduate students and post-doctoral fellows lead the laboratories in conjunction with the classroom teachers.


Spring 2018 Biology Laboratory 
Workshops for High School Classes

Support from the Amgen Foundation, the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Program Format

Life Sciences Outreach will offer laboratory workshops of approximately 3 hours to high school classes. This year, due to changes in our program funding, we will only be offering class-level targeted versions of our PCR and Gel Electrophoresis laboratory. 

The level of difficulty of the laboratory will be tailored to the individual
 class. Teachers will be required to communicate with Life Sciences Outreach staff ahead of time to determine what is appropriate for their students.

Program Schedule

Laboratories will be offered mornings from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday, during the six-week period from 6th March 2018 to 28th April 2018 (except for the week of April 17th).


The program is FREE and is funded by the Amgen Foundation.

Application Requirements

Applications must be filled out by high school biology teachers for students in grades 9-12. Classes from public, private, parochial, and charter schools in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire are welcome. Class sizes may not exceed 24 students because of space limitations. Go to the Application Page.

Application Availability and Deadline

The application for the Spring 2018 Program will be available 11/1/17. Application deadline is 1/5/18.

In mid-January, accepted applicants will receive an email confirming their laboratory date. An email containing directions, parking information, and more detailed laboratory information will follow. In addition, teachers will need to communicate with the Life Sciences Outreach staff regarding their class' specific requirements. Teacher email address must be included on the application.

Description of Laboratory Workshop

Polymerase Chain Reactions and Gel Electrophoresis

Students will isolate DNA from their cheek cells and run PCR (Polymerase Chain Reactions) on their own samples. Working with Life Sciences Outreach staff, teachers will choose which gene their students will target using the PCR process. Students will then analyze their samples by gel electrophoresis and learn to interpret individual results by identifying banding patterns. Model organisms will be introduced and the applications of PCR and other molecular biology tools will be discussed within their context.

Email questions to Alia Qatarneh.