Overview of ELISA Experiments

These ELISA experiments differ in an important way from the previous assignments you've had in this course. Previously, you've been given a recipe to follow, and the most challenging parts may have been to understand the principles, the rationale for the method's recipe, and to interpret your results. In ELISA, we're adding an additional challenge. This makes it more like a real-life experiment -- more like what most of you will need to learn how to do in your future employment.

The additional challenge is to design and select the individual tests that make up each experiment. Each ELISA experiment will consist of several dozen individual tests, all done at once in a single plate (capable of holding up to 96 test wells). Your lab manual gives a recipe for conducting such tests, but doesn't specify in detail exactly which tests are needed. You'll have to make enough decisions to answer the questions at the bottom of page 108. Perhaps most importantly, you'll have to figure out what kinds of information you need to get from control tests in order to interpret your tests on unknown samples. You have to decide what control tests to do, and then do them. If your decisions are ill-founded, you'll simply have to redesign the experiment and then do it over. (That's real life!)

Each student should do her or his own experiments individually. It is not necessary to work in pairs for the ELISA experiments. Of course you should discuss your plans and help each other freely.

We have allotted four classes to ELISA. Generally we suggest that you use your time this way: