DiscoverGenomics! Mobile Laboratory

Intro: 

The DG! Mobile Lab is a versatile educational platform for hands-on learning.

Our Driving Philosophy

JCVI believes that every child deserves access to authentic, hands-on, inquiry-based science experiences. This is the philosophy driving our DiscoverGenomics! (DG!) Mobile Laboratory Program. The mobile lab is a modified motor coach, outfitted with advanced laboratory equipment, electricity, running water and network capabilities. It takes science concepts and equipment to primarily middle school students to give them educational experiences they may not otherwise be able to access.

DiscoverGenomics! Science Education Program logo

The DG! Mobile Lab is used in a variety of formal and informal educational settings.

The DG! Mobile Lab is a versatile educational platform that we have used in several modes: 

  • as a roving classroom laboratory that visits middle schools directly,
  • as an exhibit at science fairs that brings shorter length, hands-on activities to many more students per visit, and
  • as an outreach platform that allows students to interact with professional scientists as they explain their science in a laboratory environment.

On the Road with JCVI

The DG! Mobile Lab program began in 2006 thanks to funding from the National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). Over a five-year period from 2006 through 2011, The DG! Mobile Lab visited over 60 middle schools in Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia, operating from JCVI’s Rockville, Maryland facility. More than 14,000 students participated in 30,000 hands-on activities within the mobile laboratory. Up to 26 students can board the Mobile Lab at one time to conduct experiments in a unique environment designed to stimulate curiosity and increased scientific interest. These activities familiarize middle school students with fundamental bioscience concepts and techniques that are foundational to the pursuit of a life sciences degree or a career in today’s life science research industry.

In 2013 the mobile lab moved to JCVI’s campus in the San Diego, California area, where it has been a part of JCVI’s educational outreach to local schools and other public events. The DG! Mobile Lab visited 5 San Diego middle schools, reaching close to 1000 students. The larger California class sizes were not ideal for the size of the mobile lab, thus we “reprogrammed” our use of the lab to deliver other types of science experiences. For example, at San Diego’s High Tech Fair, which attracts thousands of students in grades 7 to 12 annually, JCVI exhibited an activity titled "Microbiomes: From Sewage to Seawater and Beyond". Visitors to the DG! Mobile Lab experienced an exhibit with hands-on activities about the importance of microbes, the role of genomics for understanding them, and how to put microbial communities to work. Since 2013, the DG! Mobile Lab has reached well over 7,000 students and family members in the San Diego area.

At JCVI, we are committed to finding new and innovative ways to offer science education opportunities with the DG! Mobile Lab. If you are interested in partnering with us, please contact us at education@jcvi.org.