La Jolla Library's Biotech Upgrade - NBC 7 San Diego

La Jolla Library's Biotech Upgrade

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    La Jolla Library's BioTech Upgrade

    Last September the library became the first to have a hands-on biotech lab with all the basic tools of molecular biology. NBC 7's Megan Tevrizian reports. (Published Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016)

    Tucked away behind a row of books is one of the most sought-after spots in the La Jolla Library.

    Last September the library became the first to have a hands-on biotech lab with all the basic tools of molecular biology.

    The lab used to be a storage closet with some broken furniture in it, but now the former closet stores 3-D printers, microscopes and a thermocycler, an apparatus used to amplify segments of DNA.

    "Really this is a community that has a lot to do with biology, not just people who work in that field, but their families are interested,” Shaun Briley the La Jolla branch manager told NBC 7.

    Briley said he wanted to create something that would connect with the community. He said since the area has several biotech companies, three hospitals and UCSD an important role of the library is to connect with the community.

    Students have the opportunity to use the lab for research with a the help of a volunteer mentor who must be a qualified biologist.

    “Today we’re going to analyze the DNA using gel-electrofereses,” he explained.

    The room has the same level of equipment you might see in an advanced biology high school classroom or even an introductory college course.

    One of the things that surprised me, but now I really love about this is the range of ages we get in here,” library volunteer Callen Hyland said. "We've had some success with having students coming in to work on their science fair projects and doing what we've been calling self-directed exploration."

    Hyland is a molecular and cellular biologist with a PhD.

    Each month the library offers two workshops and one lecture a month on bio-tech related topics, all of which have sold out so far.

    The library partnered with a group of citizen scientists called the Wet Lab, who donated the equipment.