At this week's fall week meeting of the American Chemical Society, Associate Professor of Chemistry Subha R. Das will present about the Mellon College of Science's (MCS) groundbreaking class that uses a cloud lab to teach undergraduate students how to harness the power of automated science. The virtual presentation, titled "Oligonucleotides in a cloud lab: A case study in remote control science," will take place at 5:20 p.m. on Thursday, August 26, in the Division of Organic Chemistry's session on Nucleic Acids, Carbohydrates and Peptides.
The class was made possible through a collaboration between MCS and the Emerald Cloud Lab (ECL), an automated science facility founded and led by alumni Brian Frezza and DJ Kleinbaum. The lab allows researchers to program and run experiments in a fully equipped, state-of-the-art, highly automated laboratory from a computer anywhere in the world.
In classes taught by Das last year, students worked to replicate experiments with nucleic acids, namely DNA, using ECL's interface and equipment.
"Using these simple experiments, we get students familiar with the concept and use of a cloud lab and allow students to understand experiments with DNA," said Das, who will be teaching the class again this fall.
Compared to experiments in traditional laboratories, Das noted that the cloud lab allowed undergraduate students to conduct experiments with much less error and far more reproducibility.
"Once students have a basic familiarity with programming experiments, they can now do experiments which normally you wouldn't be able to do unless you had much longer specific training," Das said. "It really shows the power of doing things in a cloud lab."