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Open AccessArticle

Aptamers in Education: Undergraduates Make Aptamers and Acquire 21st Century Skills Along the Way

1
Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science, Freshman Research Initiative, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
2
Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science, High School Research Initiative, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
3
Texas Institute for Discovery Education in Science, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
4
Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sensors 2019, 19(15), 3270; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19153270
Received: 28 June 2019 / Revised: 17 July 2019 / Accepted: 23 July 2019 / Published: 25 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aptamers and Applications)
Aptamers have a well-earned place in therapeutic, diagnostic, and sensor applications, and we now show that they provide an excellent foundation for education, as well. Within the context of the Freshman Research Initiative (FRI) at The University of Texas at Austin, students have used aptamer selection and development technologies in a teaching laboratory to build technical and 21st century skills appropriate for research scientists. One of the unique aspects of this course-based undergraduate research experience is that students develop and execute their own projects, taking ownership of their experience in what would otherwise be a traditional teaching lab setting. Of the many successes, this work includes the isolation and characterization of novel calf intestinal alkaline phosphatase (anti-CIAP) RNA aptamers by an undergraduate researcher. Further, preliminary survey data suggest that students who participate in the aptamer research experience express significant gains in their self-efficacy to conduct research, and their perceived ability to communicate scientific results, as well as organize and interpret data. This work describes, for the first time, the use of aptamers in an educational setting, highlights the positive student outcomes of the aptamer research experience, and presents the research findings relative to the novel anti-CIAP aptamer. View Full-Text
Keywords: aptamer; calf-intestinal alkaline phosphatase; course-based undergraduate research experience; in vitro selection; Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment; SELEX; CURE; Freshman Research Initiative; 21st century skills aptamer; calf-intestinal alkaline phosphatase; course-based undergraduate research experience; in vitro selection; Systematic Evolution of Ligands by Exponential Enrichment; SELEX; CURE; Freshman Research Initiative; 21st century skills
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MDPI and ACS Style

Stovall, G.M.; Huynh, V.; Engelman, S.; Ellington, A.D. Aptamers in Education: Undergraduates Make Aptamers and Acquire 21st Century Skills Along the Way. Sensors 2019, 19, 3270.

AMA Style

Stovall GM, Huynh V, Engelman S, Ellington AD. Aptamers in Education: Undergraduates Make Aptamers and Acquire 21st Century Skills Along the Way. Sensors. 2019; 19(15):3270.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Stovall, Gwendolyn M.; Huynh, Vincent; Engelman, Shelly; Ellington, Andrew D. 2019. "Aptamers in Education: Undergraduates Make Aptamers and Acquire 21st Century Skills Along the Way" Sensors 19, no. 15: 3270.

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