Landmark Collegiate Biology students had the opportunity to partner with RBC Youth BIOLab Jeunesse at the St. Boniface Hospital and work on experiments in a safe and authentic biomedical teaching laboratory. Our research question focused on the effects of caffeine because of its various forms in our daily lives. We worked with the Director, Steve Jones, and Education Liaison, Meghan Kynoch, to develop an experiment with stem cells to learn how caffeine affects cell growth.
We extracted stem cells from the bones of a rat leg and grew them in a cell culture. The cells were then injected with various levels of caffeine over different lengths of time. At the time of this writing we had not yet been able to see the results of our experiment. Through the experience we learned how to use proper lab procedures, different lab equipment such as the clean vent hood and a hemocytometer and we grew in our understanding of inquiry projects and project based learning. This partnership with the Youth BIOLab allowed us to have a hands-on experience with deciding on what and how to research while working alongside scientists.
We appreciated the opportunity to work and learn at the BIOLab. For Steve “it’s all about the kids’ curiosity and health literacy. Science education shouldn’t just be a teacher telling the kids what they need to know. It’s better when it’s experiential and when the students can see what real science is like.”