Media Advisory: At Genome Day, 400 kids will bring their DNA home in a necklace

Release Date: March 25, 2019 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. — Hundreds of 8th-graders from Buffalo Public Schools will don laboratory gloves, spit in a cup and extract their very own DNA from the saliva during UB’s annual Genome Day on March 26.

At the end of the workshop, students will bring their genetic material home in a clear vial attached to a necklace. The activity is a fun, hands-on way to introduce middle schoolers to concepts surrounding genomics and genetics.

“Genome Day is a really exciting experience for the students,” says Sandra K. Small, PhD, science education manager at UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS) and lead event organizer. “They are able to extract and visualize their own DNA and take it home in a necklace. By engaging students in hands-on science in middle school, in a state-of-the-art health sciences building, we’re helping them to visualize themselves working in health sciences careers.”

What: Genome Day 2019.

Where: The Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences building at the corner of Main and High streets in Buffalo.

When: Tuesday, March 26.

  • 9:45 a.m.: UB students and staff, most in the sciences and health sciences, will lead the 8th-graders in extracting their DNA and placing it in a vial. The middle school students will work in small groups, but each student will create their own personal vial — holding their very own DNA — to take home.

  • 11 a.m.: Buffalo Animal Adventures will give a short presentation to all attendees about the importance of genetic diversity in relation to preserving endangered species. The event will feature animals, with a ring-tailed lemur, eastern box turtle, Burmese python and chinchilla expected to be in attendance. (For this portion of the presentation, media are asked to photograph and film only the presenters, as not all students in attendance will have permission to be photographed.)

Who: About 400 8th-graders from Buffalo Public Schools are expected to attend.

Visuals: The process of isolating DNA includes a number of highly visual steps, and the DNA itself is visible as a web-like cluster of white organic material. See photos of last year’s event.

Media arrangements: Contact Julianna Fortain, marketing and special events coordinator with UB’s Business and Entrepreneur Partnerships team, at or 716-881-7586. Fortain will be in the medical school lobby at Main and High streets starting at 9:30 a.m.

Sponsors: CBLS; the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo; UB’s Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence; Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Buffalo Public Schools.

Media Contact Information

Charlotte Hsu is a former staff writer in University Communications. To contact UB's media relations staff, email or visit our list of current university media contacts.