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OUASSA Biochemistry and Genetics projects

What are Biochemistry and Genetics?

If you’ve ever wondered how living things work, where they get their energy from, how they make the components they need or what it is that your genes do, then Biochemistry and Genetics is for you.

Biochemists describe life by applying the molecular approach of chemistry to the study of biological molecules. Genetics is the study of genes and inheritance. It is fun, interesting, challenging and relevant to your everyday life! Biochemists and Geneticists also explore the molecular basis of disease, generating insights into how disease can be managed and treated.

Biochemistry and Genetics occupy a central place in the life sciences. It is fundamental to our understanding of the structure, function and development of all life. It doesn't matter which area of biology you are interested in, Biochemistry and Genetics will enhance your understanding of life.

Who should consider this project?

  • Students who are undertaking Level 3 Biology who are interested in the building blocks of life.
  • Students who are interested in human body systems.

Summer Camp: January

During the summer science camp elective you will create your own genetically modified organism by carrying out a DNA cloning experiment in E. coli.

This experiment involves gel electrophoresis to measure the size of DNA fragments, using DNA ligase to “glue” different pieces of DNA together and inserting that DNA into a bacterial cell.

You will also use dissecting microscopes to analyse and image some model organisms that geneticists use including the fruit fly (drosophila).

At the camp, you will examine how different foods and activities affect the levels of energy molecules in your blood. This means you will be doing experiments on yourselves (including obtaining small blood samples from yourself).

You will get to both design and carry out your own experiments – just like a real scientist!

Winter Camp: July

Blood is the delivery system of the body. Analysis of blood can tell you a lot about a person's biochemical and physiological state, and is an important source of information for diagnosis of disease.

In this project you will design and carry out experiments to look measure various molecules in your own blood samples, and see how what you eat or what exercise you do can affect the levels of those molecules in your blood.

More information about Biochemistry and Genetics at Otago

Download the infosheets for Biochemistry (PDF) and Genetics (PDF) to learn more about:

  • Suggested background
  • Careers in Biochemistry and Genetics
  • Degree programme
  • Teaching style
  • Postgraduate study

For further information:

Visit the Department of Biochemistry website
Visit the Genetics @ Otago website