Biotechnology apprenticeship for secondary-level students: Teachingadvanced cell culture techniques for research

Jennifer R. Lewis, Mark S. Kotur, Omar Butt, Sumant Kulcarni, Alyssa A. Riley, Nick Ferrell, Kathryn D. Sullivan, Mauro Ferrari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to discuss small-group apprenticeships (SGAs) as a method to instruct cell culture techniques to high school participants. The study aimed to teach cell culture practices and to introduce advanced imaging techniques to solve various biomedical engineering problems. Participants designed and completed experiments using both flow cytometry and laser scanning cytometry during the 1-month summer apprenticeship. In addition to effectively and efficiently teaching cell biology laboratory techniques, this course design provided an opportunity for research training, career exploration, and mentoring. Students participated in active research projects, working with a skilled interdisciplinary team of researchers in a large research institution with access to state-of-the-art instrumentation. The instructors, composed of graduate students, laboratory managers, and principal investigators, worked well together to present a real and worthwhile research experience. The students enjoyed learning cell culture techniques while contributing to active research projects. The institution's researchers were equally enthusiastic to instruct and serve as mentors. In this article, we clarify and illuminate the value of small-group laboratory apprenticeships to the institution and the students by presenting the results and experiences of seven middle and high school participants and their instructors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-42
Number of pages17
JournalCell Biology Education
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jun 2002


  • Biotechnology
  • Cell culture
  • Flow cytometry
  • Laboratory instruction apprenticeship
  • Laser scanning cytometry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Education


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