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Tufts Loans Lab Equipment to Schools

Tufts University Dana LaboratoryTufts University Dana Laboratory

Twenty years ago, when his daughter was in high school, David Walt realized that school science labs were too limited by poor equipment for students to conduct proper science. The Tufts University chemistry professor has finally come up with a solution. Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation, Walt has started a program to loan $40,000 worth of Tufts’ expensive, state-of-the-art lab equipment to four Boston area high schools, according to the Boston Globe.

The schools can loan a DNA amplifier, a micropipette, a centrifuge, and a thermal cycler. The fancy gear  also comes with two experiments designed by Walt and colleagues. Students can attempt to pinpoint which area of the world their maternal ancestors came from 70,000 years ago, and also determine whether certain soy-based foods contain genetically-modified soybeans. Walt tells the Globe that the experiments were designed not only to make good use of the latest technologies, but also to  grab students’ interest, getting them hooked on science. The experiments aren’t foolproof, so students can fail, which Walt says is an important part of how science works.

Teachers will attend workshops run by undergraduates to learn how to use the equipment and conduct the experiments. One of them certainly sounds excited by the prospect: Sebastian LaGambina, of Somerville High School, tells the newspaper: “We’ll be able to do today’s science in the classroom, not just the science of 10 years ago.”

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