Each of the three different bioengineering tracks here at Lehigh has an upperclassmen lab requirement where you learn the different techniques relevant to that track. For the Biopharmaceutical track its the Integrated Biotechnology Lab (BIOE 343), the Bioelectronics/Biophotonics track has the Integrated Bioelectronics/Biophotonics Lab (BIOE 331), and for the Biomechanics and Biomaterials track we take the Integrated Biostructural Mechanics Lab (BIOE 357) which I took last semester.
That sounds really complicated, but in it we learned how to culture mammalian cells and some other basic techniques for testing and analyzing them. Its a three hour lab that you have twice a week up on Mountaintop campus, but it was one of my favorite classes because we got to do hands-on work. Since its a class of only about 10 people for 6 hours a week, we also got a chance to really get to know some of our fellow BioEs.
This is one of the best pictures from that lab. We did a lot of immunofluorescence staining, that’s when you use an antibody that has a tag on it that glows when you hit it with a specific color of light. The antibody would bind to some specific molecule that we wanted to look at and glow, so we could see where that molecule was in the cell. The green are actin filaments, structures that provide structural support to the cell. The blue is the nucleus and the red are focal adhesions, where the cell attaches to the surface that its sitting on.