Bacterial Transformation Lab


This workshop explores the concept and practice of transformation from the point of view of cellular biology. Transformation is understood as a process when DNA is released from cells into the surrounding medium, and recipient cells incorporate it into themselves. The intention is two-fold: to introduce artists, researchers and students to the practice and culture of  laboratory science and to re-imagine how cellular transformation may provoke further thinking around cultural perceptions of  genetic exchange and cross and inter-species relations.

The workshop will teach students and researchers various scientific laboratory practices in order to investigate transformation as a mechanism of genetic exchange. First, we will create competent cells by chemically and thermally treating E. coli cells. We will then insert a plasmid containing firefly genes into competent E. coli cells.  Lab participants will create images in pertri dishes with the cells before incubating them over night. Finally, we will determine if transformation was successful by examining the cells for luminescence.

The lab workshop is led by Sokunthear Hul and organized with the support of Michel Harvey.  We thank  Marta de Menezes for her participation and Dr. Michael Sacher and the Department of Biology  for making this workshop possible.