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Research Lab



(Teacher Workshop)

The Insect-Microbiome Antibiotic Bioprospecting training course is designed to train teachers to run a bioprospecting research lab in their high school. Teachers, and later their students, will learn how to discover novel antibiotic candidates.


SOC Research supports teachers/high schools that establish an SOC Insect-Microbiome Antibiotic Bioprospecting Lab in their school with SOC Research certification in this specialty as well as promotional lab equipment pricing, a repository for promising microbial isolate storage, the potential for further microbial isolate testing through SOC research partners, and shared intellectual property management.

teacher/student training manual

(100+ pages of guidance)


Lead Scientist provides background for the day’s research activities

Why focus on Insects?

Historically, bioprospecting efforts have focused on isolating antimicrobials from soil samples with a success rate on the order of 1 in 100,000.  This training, however, focusses on learning how to isolate antimicrobial candidates that live symbiotically on and within insects. Research scientists are finding that bioprospecting using insect-derived samples has a much higher likelihood for success - 100 to 1000 times more likely!

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Insect -> bacterial isolation -> gene amplification -> sequence -> bioinformatics -> Antibiotic!
Learn how to identify Actinobacteria
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Learn how to develop inhibition profiles
Learn how to use bioinformatics tools to analyze genome sequences

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Training Workshop:


In this course, teachers will learn how to:

  • isolate bacteria strains (Actinomycetes) from insect samples

  • establish isolate morphologies and other bioassay-determined characteristics

  • co-culture isolates for antimicrobial inhibition against antagonists

  • use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and electrophoresis to amplify and separate isolated genetic material by gene length

  • analyze 16S rRNA genetic sequence results to establish likely phylogenetic ancestry using MOLE-BLAST and MEGA

  • learn about whole genome sequencing and how antiSMASH identifies biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that encode novel pathways for secondary metabolites with potential medical applications.