Sciences receive sequencer

Students now have the opportunity to use new technology in the classroom

The School of Health Sciences’ Department of Biology and Chemistry recently received a gene sequencer that students will be able to use in classes to help them learn about DNA.

Dr. David DeWitt, biology professor and chair of the Department of Biology and Chemistry at Liberty University, said the gene sequencer is used to determine the DNA sequence of whatever genome is put into the machine. He said students from the molecular techniques class have already been working on sequencing and that they are now in the final stages of getting the sequence alignment.

Dr. Andrew Fabich, assistant professor of microbiology, teaches the molecular techniques class in which students use the gene sequencer.

“DNA is the hereditary instructions for producing all the proteins in an organism, and with a gene sequencer, you’re able to obtain the exact sequence of every nucleotide base pair,” DeWitt said.

DeWitt said students are very excited about the gene sequencer because it is something they are used to reading about in textbooks, but do not typically have the
opportunity to use.

“It’s a tremendous asset to have such a cutting-edge instrument available for use by undergraduates, which is extremely unusual,” DeWitt said.

DeWitt said he believes the university is positioning itself to be a leader of higher education with the new equipment the School of Health Sciences Biology and Chemistry has received recently. He also said they have added significantly to the quality of the science equipment in the last several years.

“Our biology and chemistry department is on the verge of starting to get significant recognition, particularly for the quality of our graduates, as well as our faculty,” DeWitt said.

DeWitt said many of the students are winning awards at both the state and regional level, and the faculty is winning awards in fellowships.

“I’m very grateful for the support of the administration for the science department and for our new building and all the new equipment,” DeWitt said.

Hudson is a news reporter.

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