Fluorescent Tags: “You keep using that phrase. Do you know what it means?”

Kari Rhoades, Science, Mallard Creek High

Curriculum Unit (PDF)


This curriculum unit is designed to teach students about fluorescence and its applications in biomedical sciences. It introduces the underlying chemical principles of fluorescence and explores how light is produced at the atomic level. Students are then guided through various applications of fluorescence in biomedical research and diagnosis. The students will extract fluorescent dye from highlighters and observe the properties of the dye under ultraviolet light and various laser colors as an introduction to fluorescence. They will then look at how the rings on purines and pyrimidines can be modified to make them fluoresce to be used in cycle sequencing. They will model the use of fluorescent cDNA to determine protein expression in normal and cancer cells. Finally, they will use SYBR safe, a fluorescent DNA stain to produce DNA profiles for use in diagnosing familial hypercholesterolemia. Lessons in the unit will be a combination of lecture and laboratory work.