Summer Workshops 2011

The goal of the HHMI ROLE-MODEL 2011 summer workshops is to expose professors to new research areas. Six workshops in the basic disciplines (botany, zoology, microbiology, genetics, immunology and cell biology) will be offered. Participants will learn topics and tools otherwise available only when participating in an independent research project. Participants will gain content knowledge, invaluable practical experiences and a strong foundation for research. Through the workshops the participants will also develop essential skills in critical thinking, problem solving and team-work. Each participant may take two of the workshops.


  • Participants for the workshops must be professors at an institution of higher education

Workshops Itinerary:

June, 7 & June, 8

  • Welcome Activity (B-392) 8:00-8:15am
  • Workshops 8:00am-4:30pm
  • Snack and lunch will be provided.
  • Appropriate laboratory attire will be provided.


Puerto Rican Invertebrate Diversity Workshop

Date: June 7 and 8
Place: B-322
Faculty: Dr. Nico Franz
Did you know that hundreds of invertebrate species that live in Puerto Rico are still new to science? In this workshop, participants will start day one with an extended invertebrate collecting trip to the Maricao State Forest (Rte. 120; please wear appropriate field clothes!). The collected specimens will be processed and stored, and on day two they will be properly mounted, labeled and identified using microscopes and a variety of print and digital literature. In the afternoon there will be demonstrations of scientific imaging, data basing, and related collection-based activities. The ideal candidate should have an interest in Neotropical animal diversity, insects and other invertebrates, and enjoy learning about biodiversity research in the field, in the laboratory, and in a scientific collection."

Signal Transduction Pathways in Lymphocytes

Date: June 8
Place: B-329
Faculty: Prof. Ana Vélez
Antibodies have become essential tools for basic and applied research, as well as in the clinic. These proteins can be highly specific, allowing for the identification of other proteins that may be scarcely present in a cell. In this workshop, we will be using antibody-based approaches to identify proteins involved in signal transduction pathways in lymphocytes. We will compare the protein profile of resting lymphocytes with that of B and T cells that have been stimulated through their antigen receptors. Participants will be able to apply key concepts related to lymphocyte function learned in the Immunology course to a laboratory research experience.

The Study of Genetic Equilibrium in Drosophila Melanogaster using Molecular Biology

Date: June 7
Place: B-221
Faculty: Dr. Dimuth Siritunga
Population genetics is the sub discipline of genetics concerned with changes in allele frequencies in populations of organisms. If allele frequencies for a particular gene do not vary from generation to generation, the population is said to be in a state of genetic equilibrium for that particular gene. If allele frequencies do change, this is considered to be evidence for the process of microevolution. In this workshop you will study this phenomenon in an artificial population of fruit flies, using a commonly utilized molecular technique of modern biology called the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). During the workshop you will determine allele frequencies for a particular molecular marker in Drosophila visualized via PCR. The observed allele frequencies will then be compared to the frequencies predicted by the Hardy-Weinberg theory of genetic equilibrium. You will use PCR to assess the genotypes of a large number of flies from an artificial population.

Drosophila Neuromuscular Junction in situ Immunostaining

Date: June 7
Place: B-329
Faculty: Dr. Franklin Carrero
Every single cell in an organism has the genetic information (DNA) to code for every single protein in that organism. During development, cells migrate, become specialized and produce a different set of proteins, depending upon their function. In this activity each participant will propose a hypothesis and design an experiment based on available samples. We will have samples from different organisms and different tissues (skeletal muscle, heart muscle, liver, etc.). At the end of this activity you will be able to determine whether each cell type and/or organism make the same (or different) proteins and assess their basic cellular organization through the use of a combination of basic microscopy techniques and protein fingerprinting by SDS-PAGE electrophoresis.

Molecular Tools for the Characterization of Bacterial Strains in Modern Microbiology

Date: June 8
Place: B-237
Faculty: Dr. Rafael Montalvo
The Workshop entitled "Molecular Tools for the Characterization of Bacterial Strains in Modern Microbiology" will expose students to techniques currently used for the characterization of bacterial isolates, complement phenotype-based taxonomy with basic molecular methods and reinforce a research oriented approach to the characterization of unknown isolates and distinguish between Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Another goal is to recognize advantages and limitations of the experimental methods used and how these affect the interpretation of results. This workshop is up to date with recommendations from the FDA which are to implement DNA-based identification of microbes of relevance in the sterile drug manufacturing setting and to increase the frequency of DNA amplification methods in clinical diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Contact Information:

Contact person: Mitzy Zavala (Secretary)
UPR-Mayagüez Campus, Biology Building, Office B-008
Phone: (787) 832-4040 Exts. 2417, 3837
Fax: (787) 834-3673

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