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ACHEMA 2012: Biotechnology Initiative Initiative for Biotechnology Presented at ACHEMA 2012

| Editor: Dominik Stephan

Ask Joey Everybody what he knows about biotechnology, and you might be surprised: Apart from vague ideas about "people in white coats" and laboratory mice, there might be hardly an idea what biotechnology is and why it is so important. Now a new initiative adresses this problem...

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The mobile experience world BIOTechnikum takes centre stage in the initiative “BIOTechnikum. Investigate life – design the future”: a two-floor truck provides space for hands-on science and dialogue about biotechnology.
The mobile experience world BIOTechnikum takes centre stage in the initiative “BIOTechnikum. Investigate life – design the future”: a two-floor truck provides space for hands-on science and dialogue about biotechnology.
(Picture: Federal Mistry of Education and Research)

How do most people come into contact with biotechnology? School pupils learn about the basics in lessons, while adults pick up information on the latest developments in this field from the media. Hardly anyone is familiar with how biotechnology relates to his or her own life or has ever actually conducted any research. However, to be able to absorb information it is important to bring all your senses into play.

The “BIOTechnikum. Investigate life – design the future” initiative of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research aims to inform school pupils, in particular, and the general public about the results of biotechnological research conducted in Germany, as well as to highlight career opportunities and encourage budding scientists. So that it can achieve these goals sustainably, the

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campaign will focus on dialogue and participation.

The Mobile Biotechnology Laboratory

A state-of-the-art laboratory in the mobile experience world BIOTechnikum gives visitors the opportunity to conduct their own experiments. Groups of up to 2 x 20 people (school pupils, students, teachers or employees of small and medium-sized companies – SMEs) are able to try their hand at research here under the guidance of experienced scientists.

There are lab practicals running for around two and a half hours at two aspiration levels to suit the interest and knowledge of the participants. Individual combinations of three subject fields are possible: experiments with genetic material, experiments with proteins and tests relating to technical applications in biotechnology.

Hands on for Biotechnology!

After instructing the participants in how to work safely and professionally in the laboratory, the scientists assisting the “BIOTechnikum” initiative introduce them to the theoretical principles of the experiments. The participants then are able to start doing their own research. Using experimental protocols, they isolate and clean DNA, for example, from oral mucosa cells.

In this way, they do not only learn how to handle important laboratory instruments but also familiarise themselves with procedures that play an important role in everyday biotechnological research. They are supported by the team of scientists, who lend a hand if needed and answer any questions.

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