Work experience / Cell structure

Work experience project

Part of the Crick's work experience programme. Learn more about work experience.

A science-based work experience placement which runs from 14 February to 18 February 2022.

Deadline for applications has passed.

Key information

Placement reference
Applications closed
13 January 2022, 00:00
Number of positions
Placement start date
14 February 2022
Placement end date
18 February 2022
Placement age range (at the start of the placement)
16-19 years
Posted 07 December 2021

How do single molecules assemble to form structures such as the molecular skeleton that gives the cell a particular shape? Using high powered microscopes, we can observe  how some of these structures are formed and the forces that are generated to give the cell it’s shape. We can assemble some of these structures using proteins and DNA that we synthesis in the lab. We can then use these proteins to measure the forces that are generated to give the cell it’s shape and texture.

During the placement, you will be shown how to perform a simple experiment.  This will involve using enzymes to create DNA using the PCR reaction. You may of heard about the PCR reaction when it is used to test for the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid) virus, but in this instance we will be using it to make a fragment of DNA.

The second half of the week you will be focusing on developing the tools necessary for measuring mechanical integrity of the DNA. You will be shown how to make a flow cell (using laser cutting) within which DNA will be tethered to the surface. We will then attach magnetic probes on the DNA and perform statistical calculations to identify single vs multiple tethers. The probes will be pulled with a magnetic tweezer at different levels of current to identify a range of forces the DNA can sustain. Finally, we will quantify the conditions that lead to the breakage of DNA under different forces.

Experiments will be easy to perform but will require accuracy and attention to detail. You will be given time to discuss your experiments with other lab members and to present your work.

The successful student would ideally be interested biology, physics and microscopy

It is expected that all students accepted for a placement at the Crick are punctualresponsibleshow a willingness to learnlisten to advice and act on feedback. For this placement in particular, the student should also:

  • Have a good attention to detail
  • Be inquisitive

There are two positions available for this placement.