Jynene Black made room in her corner of Bert Boyer's lab for a brand new high school graduate last summer.
It was part of collaboration with RAHI II Next Step, a section of the Rural Alaska Honors Insitute, and meant to give high school students in-depth knowledge of molecular biology, experience in a research lab and encourage students to major and graduate in the sciences.
For three weeks Tayesia Nick, of Pilot Station, AK, extracted DNA from dried blood, plasma, sera, and red blood cells. Her experiment was to find which source gave better quality and quantity of DNA. Her theory, which Black encouraged her to develop, was that the dried blood would provide the best genetic material.
"I don't get grossed out by blood," said NIck, who wore a lab coat, gloves and goggles while working with the samples, last summer.
It turns out all of the sample types could be used, Nick concluded at the end of her study. She is now finishing her first year at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Black, a CANHR lab technician, said she plans to invite another RAHI II student to the lab this summer. It's a chance to introduce someone to new possibilities in biomedical research.
"You can see when the light comes on in their eyes," she said.