STEM: Backyard Biofuels - Understanding the Genomic Potential of the Q Microbe

Summary The forests surrounding the Quabbin reservoir are home to the bacterium, Clostridium phytofermentans. In the last two years C. phytofermentans has become a “Local Hero” and is known as the Q Microbe because it was discovered near the Quabbin reservoir and because of the publicity surrounding the biofuels company Qteros that originated from research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Qteros is founded upon the concept of using this locally discovered microbe to produce ethanol from plant fibers. The Q Microbe is a very tractable system for engaging high school students in the microbiology of forest soils, genomics and biotechnology. The goal is to provide a fundamental understanding of genome science using free and/or web-based tools, and classroom activities for diverse levels.

Where and When The workshop will take place on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst in the Integrated Sciences Building room 321 (The Computer Resource Center) Oct. 30, 2010 from 8:30 am to 1:00 pm.

Instructors Jeffrey Blanchard and Amy Biddle, Microbiology.

Workshop Outline
* 8:30-8:45 Introductions and computer set up
* 8:45-9:45 Genomics and you
* Break
* 10:00-11:00 The role of genomics in developing biofuels
* Break
* 11:15-12:15 Microbial ecology and genomics
* 12:15-1:00 Discussion of available resources and additional activities for students