Molecular Genetics Laboratory Open House

Uploaded by GallaudetVideo on 04.03.2009

It's the first time we have had a research lab
here at Gallaudet.
Up until now, we've only had teaching labs for classes,
but not actual research laboratories similar
to what would be found across the country in research labs
or at large research universities,
so this is a really exciting time for us.
When we designed this lab, we knew that Gallaudet,
as an academic institution, did not have a lot of experience
in scientific research, so we needed a good model to emulate.
Fortunately I worked at NIH,
and while I worked there my building was renovated.
The person who ran that program was a top official
for building renovations at NIH.
I was introduced to him,
I was able to sit down and discuss our project,
and he was nice enough to give me a wealth of information.
We were able to incorporate that,
and what you see here behind me
looks almost exactly like an NIH lab.
He had many years of experience and knew what to do,
so I was able to take that information and apply it here.
Now, we have the same technology here.
This is truly an exciting time in history because,
from what I have been able to find,
this is the first research lab
ever created on the Gallaudet campus.
Also, it's the only lab in the world that was designed
and managed solely by deaf people.
This is a first in history!
There are two labs here.
One is focused more on genetics and molecular biology
with a focus on understanding deafness.
The other lab, which is mine,
focuses on environmental issues and ecology.
I am an oceanographer by training so, of course,
my emphasis is more on marine science.
But, generally, if students are interested in topics
that are more terrestrial, that's fine.
All environmental issues are important.
Students work with all of us and, all together,
there are four scientists here, and we train these students.
I haven't brought my own research here yet,
but I assist with Derek's project focusing on Connexin 26.
We've been training students since we began unpacking
and opening up the lab in the fall.
This is great for staff and faculty
who are leading research projects,
and for students who come and work on projects.
I worked here last semester studying gels
and how to make different kinds of gels
for the electrophoresis process
used to study DNA strands and structures.
So, I helped make different kinds of gels to see
which works best, such as to see which speed works best,
or to see which was the most cost effective
and would save money for Gallaudet.
This is definitely a good start for research
at Gallaudet University, especially for science majors.
A lot of research has been done
in ASL and the linguistics field,
but it's good to have a wide range of fields.
Here it is incredible
that there are more deaf and hard of hearing people,
and they have similar interests and are willing to learn
from their mentors with hearing loss.
They are able to gain inspiration to move forward
and not let barriers stop them
from doing whatever they want to do,
or from doing what they want to do.
I noticed that, in the past, for those who pursued biology
and then attempted to enter the field
ended up changing their major
because of communication barriers.
There are so many communication barriers in the science field;
it's tough.
It requires a lot of team work, so many on-going meetings,
and often last-minute meetings
which makes finding an interpreter difficult.
Deaf scientists trying to make it
through these barriers find it hard.
Now, what we have here will help open the doors
for more deaf scientists in the future.
I think it is an exciting time to be a biology major here
because we have wonderful faculty in this department,
and where else would you be exposed to
so many deaf scientists?
That's one reason I came here - it was to work with them -
there is nowhere else I could do that.
And also, there are so many projects happening
in these labs, so students will not be stuck working
in one area, but be exposed to different areas of biology.
It is a very technical language that we use,
which makes it hard to do through an interpreter
because the interpreters have to learn it themselves.
It's hard to obtain qualified interpreters.
But here, we use ASL in direct communication with the students.
We don't have to wrestle with breakdowns in communication.
That helps a lot.
Gallaudet is a great place for people
who are interested in science.
The old thinking was
that Gallaudet is a liberal arts school.
People thought that if you wanted science,
you had to go to RIT/NTID.
Now, we will prove that this is the place.
With direct access in ASL for communication,
this is the best place.
We have wonderful, young, energetic faculty members,
so students should come here to Gallaudet!