Westminster College Installs DNA Analysis Machine

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. – With funding from The Pittsburgh Conference Memorial National College Grant, Westminster College recently installed a micro-volume spectrophotometer, allowing students to analyze the amount of DNA, RNA and other proteins for research projects.

The $10,000 grant from the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh paid for the machine, delivered two weeks ago.

According to Pete Smith, chairman of the biological, chemical and environmental sciences departments, 20% of the Westminster student body will use the machine.

“Before we had the micro-volume spectrophotometer, students and faculty would create a sample of DNA, RNA, or protein in solution and would then have to sacrifice a large portion if the sample for initial analysis” he said in a statement. “This new instrument allows our students and faculty to measure the concentrations of biological molecules in their samples without having to sacrifice any of the sample.”

What’s most beneficial, he continued, is that the machine can analyze amounts of liquid as small as one microliter, 50 times smaller than a drop of water.

The grant, “Many Measuring the Minute: How a Micro-volume Spectrophotometer will Enhance Biological and Chemical Education at Westminster College,” was authored by Matt Baker, chairman for materials science; biology professor Joshua Corrette-Bennett, biochemistry chairwoman Sarah Kennedy, biology professor Diana Ortiz and chemistry professor Erin Wilson.

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