Bellevue College program featured in Science magazine

Dr. Gita Bangera - Courtesy photo
Dr. Gita Bangera
— image credit: Courtesy photo


Bellevue College’s ComGen project, a program where students conduct genetic research, is featured in the Sept. 16 issue of Science magazine. The article is about two-year colleges around the country that are involving students in research once reserved for four-year science programs.

The project, funded with a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant, is a graduate-school type project. Students maintain a lab notebook, isolate plasmid DVA, and run PCR while they sequence the genome of Pseudomonas fluorescens L5, 1-96, a bacterium that fights off a fungus that attacks wheat.

The article quotes BC faculty member Dr. Gita Bangera, a molecular biologist, who says she assumed her students would be perfectly capable of doing research and analyzing original research articles.

“The first time they do it, they’re terrified,” she said, quoted in the Science article. One daunting aspect is that the students have to look up many of the terms to simply understand the articles. “I say, ‘Yeah, you’re going to have to do that.’ They learn to ask and answer questions, which is really what research is about.”

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