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Support for educators provides an opportunity to teach hands-on molecular biology techniques

Posted on Thursday, December 8, 2022

By Carine Robichon-Iyer, Ph.D. & Dora Posfai, Ph.D.

Topic: Career advice, What is Trending in Science, Tips for the lab

The New England Biolabs® DE&I Committee granted lab equipment to two passionate science teachers to enhance learning experiences in molecular biology.

Bringing science to student hands

There is no better way for students to learn science, than by doing science. But what happens when there is no lab equipment available for class? The New England Biolabs Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) Committee is honored to grant lab equipment to two passionate science teachers to enhance their students’ learning experiences in molecular biology. 

The grant application was open to all teachers familiar with the Lab in a Box loan program* from Genes in Space™. For 2 consecutive years, these teachers and their students have used this portable lab equipment to perform their own molecular biology experiments.

2022 New England Biolabs DE&I STEM education grant recipients  




Zoey Kapusinski, a High School Biology teacher from Ulysses S Grant High School (Oklahoma City, OK) chose to receive a set of Lab Learning Kits to introduce her students to forensics, antibiotic resistance, protein expression and genetic inheritance experiments. Her goal is to expose her students to hands-on molecular techniques while exploring concepts of genetics. 

“As a biology teacher at a Title I school, I feel incredibly fortunate to introduce my students to lab equipment and techniques that many have never seen before. By the time my students arrive in my classroom, many have not even used basic compound light microscopes, let alone conducted gel electrophoresis. I find it extremely exciting to introduce students to lab procedures that modern scientists use to conduct contemporary research. Students enjoy getting to use micropipettes and being able to see the visual results of gel electrophoresis with the special viewers. Many students take photos on their phones to share with their friends and family. Seeing students get excited about DNA science and realize that they could pursue this branch of science in their futures is immeasurably rewarding.”

Zoey Kapusinski, Ulysses S Grant High School


Michael Burke, a middle school Science teacher from Inspire Connections Academy (Boise, ID), received a Lab in a Box. His goal is to bring DNA experiments directly into the hands of his students enrolled in virtual school and enhance in-person interactions between students while teaching fun science.

“As a teacher at a virtual school, I am acutely aware that my students have a lack of opportunities for hands-on science labs. With this incredibly generous equipment grant I will be able to offer new, exciting labs that would have previously been unaffordable for us. With the district boundary of my school being the entire state of Idaho, this typically means only students that live close by are able to attend in-person lab sessions. However, with the portability of the Lab in a Box, I plan to take it around the state ensuring each and every one of our students has an opportunity to learn. Whether they're younger students developing lab skills such as pipetting or AP Biology students learning about PCR and gel electrophoresis, this equipment will help our students learn the importance of DNA science for years to come. I am truly grateful, and I know my students will be too!”
Michael Burke, Inspire Connections Academy

With these two grants, approximately 750 students will have the opportunity to learn hands-on DNA techniques with their teachers this year.  New England Biolabs also supports teachers all year through a science education support program, providing course support and reagent donations to high schools, colleges and teaching programs. 

*Lab in a Box loan program (in which recipients receive equipment kit to use for 2 weeks to teach DNA science in their classrooms) was created by Genes in Space, a national STEM contest that challenges students in grades 7 through 12 to design biotechnology experiments using the International Space Station National Lab. The contest is a collaboration between miniPCR bio™ and ISS prime contractor Boeing, with generous support from the ISS National Lab and New England Biolabs®. To learn more visit genesinspace.org

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