General Lab Information


Virus Infection Lab

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The study of viruses has impacted our understanding of genetics and biotechnology. Brookhaven National Laboratory developed the T7 expression system, a viral replication “machine” that controls protein production in bacterial cells. T7 bacteriophage is a model used to understand virus life cycle and plaque formation. Students will dilute a T7 phage culture and infect E.coli to determine the virus infectivity. The virus infectivity can be determined by the number of plaques, clear zones due to virus replication, and cell death bacterial lawn. 

Vocabulary: bacteriophage, capsid, lytic cycle, aseptic, plaque, ampicillin, green fluorescent protein (GFP)

Session Information: This activity is available in-person only. 

In-Person Session Information  
  • 90-minute session, times are flexible
  • One class per session, maximum 30 students per class
  • Can book multiple activities in one day
  • $600 (BOCES-aidable) per session

New York State Science Learning Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas Crosscutting Concepts Science and Engineering Practices

LS1.A: Structure and Function

LS1.B: Growth and Development of Organisms

Structure and Function

Scale, Proportion, and Quantity


Next Generation English Language Arts Learning Standards

Speaking and Listening Language

Comprehension and Collaboration
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas

Vocabulary Acquisition and Use

Living Environment

Process Skills Major Understandings

Standard 1, Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.

Standard 4, Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.

1.1 Learning about the historical development of scientific concepts or about individuals who have contributed to scientific knowledge provides a better understanding of scientific inquiry and the relationship between science and society.

2.2 f,g In all organisms, the coded instructions for specifying the characteristics of the organism are carried in DNA, a large molecule formed from subunits arranged in a sequence with bases of four kinds (represented by A, G, C, and T). The chemical and structural properties of DNA are the basis for how the genetic information that underlies heredity is both encoded in genes (as a string of molecular “bases”) and replicated by means of a template. Cells store and use coded information. The genetic information stored in DNA is used to direct the synthesis of the thousands of proteins that each cell requires.

2.2 c, d Different enzymes can be used to cut, copy, and move segments of DNA. Characteristics produced by the segments of DNA may be expressed when these segments are inserted into new organisms, such as bacteria. Inserting, deleting, or substituting DNA segments can alter genes. An altered gene may be passed on to every cell that develops from it.

5.1 f, g Biochemical process, both breakdown and synthesis, are made possible by a large set of biological catalysts called enzymes. Enzymes can affect the rates of chemical change. The rate at which enzymes can be influenced by internal environmental factors such as pH and temperature. Enzymes and other molecules, such as hormones, receptor molecules, and antibodies, have specific shapes that influence both how they function and how they interact with other molecules.