MiniOne System’s electrophoresis and PCR equipment were designed to make teaching molecular biology in the classroom faster, more affordable, and more intuitive and engaging for students of all ability levels. Each component of our equipment and lab kits are designed with the teacher and student in mind, with the goal of bringing cutting-edge science to the classroom lab while streamlining the experience from gel casting to results analysis. 

A fun bonus of our design principles is that we’ve made it possible to bring hands-on science to more places around the world, like the jungles of Borneo and Peru, as well as biotechnology competitions in suburban Texas! This February, we were thrilled to be able to support the SCI://TECH Exposition Biotechnology Competition at Conroe Independent School District, held at Lone Star College-Montgomery in Conroe, Texas. 

Our partnership began when biology educator Courtney Sweebe of The Woodlands College Park High School reached out to let us know about a biotechnology competition she was organizing. Information about the competition sparked our interest and we wanted to ensure that all students had the same opportunity to compete on an even playing field, using the same equipment. Also, we noticed that the initial instructions for the competition included staining and destaining steps that would take an additional hour or two in the competition. Using the MiniOne Electrophoresis System, these steps are eliminated as the DNA stain is incorporated directly into the agarose gel, enabling students to view DNA migration in real-time.

In collaboration with Conroe ISD, MiniOne provided the competition with DNA samples along with 50 loaner MiniOne Electrophoresis Systems for all 50 teams in the competition.

In the competition, ninth through twelfth grade students set up and ran an agarose gel, analyzed the results, and drew valid conclusions based on the DNA fragments observed. Students were judged based on their technical as well as their scientific reasoning and critical thinking skills.

Here’s what Courtney had to say about her experience!

I was ecstatic that this year’s competitors were able to use the MiniOne systems. In the past, the process of pouring, running, and staining gels has taken several hours for the teams to complete, and they could only analyze the results after all these steps were completed. By using the MiniOne systems this year, the teams of students were able to

visualize their results in real-time, which not only sped up the process but also reinforced their understanding of how gel electrophoresis works. The bands in the gel were crisp and clear, and more teams were able to get results from their gel than ever before. After the competition, I asked multiple teams about their experience, and they all commented that they loved being able to watch the DNA migrate as they ran their gel. Several graduates of a biotechnology program assisted with the competition, and they were amazed at the efficiency and design of the systems and were even a little envious that their program did not have them.

Contributing to this project reminded us why we love designing and manufacturing products for educators: their dedication, ingenuity, and drive to bring better quality education to their students is nothing short of inspiring. Thank you to Conroe ISD, Lone Star College-Montgomery, and Courtney Sweebe for allowing us to be a part of this fantastic experience – and congratulations to all the student competitors – we see a bright future ahead for you all!

Want to know more about how MiniOne Systems can bring engaging, efficient, hands-on molecular biology labs to your students? Contact us today!