Get the Basics

Photo: Courtesy of Michelle Lizott Waniewski  DROP AND GIVE ME 20! Attendees at the 2002 NEB workshops labor through basic training. If you've ever been confused by the jargon of molecular biology, you are not alone. With biotechnology in the news day by day, it is easy to forget that for many of us--even for some readers of The Scientist--the tools, techniques, and concepts that undergird much of this research are foreign. To help keep up, some scientists are queuing up to learn the bas

Gail Dutton
Nov 10, 2002
Photo: Courtesy of Michelle Lizott Waniewski
 DROP AND GIVE ME 20! Attendees at the 2002 NEB workshops labor through basic training.

If you've ever been confused by the jargon of molecular biology, you are not alone. With biotechnology in the news day by day, it is easy to forget that for many of us--even for some readers of The Scientist--the tools, techniques, and concepts that undergird much of this research are foreign. To help keep up, some scientists are queuing up to learn the basics in a variety of immersive "boot camps."

New England Biolabs (NEB) of Beverly, Mass., sponsors one such event, the NEB Molecular Biology and PCR Summer Workshop (www.math.smith.edu/~sawlab/neb.html). At these two-week courses, held at the Clark Science Center, Smith College, Northampton, Mass., "We teach all of the basics, and then some," says course instructor Steven Williams, Gates professor of biological sciences at...