Berkeley Lab

Visiting STEM students gain insight to microbial metabolomics

CSUEB sponsored STEM Career Awareness Day, visiting high school students view an active demonstration of the mass spectrometry based techniques used to understand microbial community metabolomics in the Northen Lab

CSUEB sponsored STEM Career Awareness Day, visiting high school students view an active demonstration of the mass spectrometry based techniques used to understand microbial community metabolomics in the Northen Lab

In support of the Cal State University East Bay (CSUEB) sponsored STEM (Science Technology Engineering Maths) Career Awareness Day, Northen Lab hosts high school students to view an active demonstration of the mass spectrometry based techniques that we use to understand microbial community metabolomics.

The Northen lab hosted ~60 high school students as part of the STEM Career Awareness Day sponsored by CSUEB. Groups of students were given a brief introduction to microbial metabolomics. At two stations, the students had an overview of MALDI (matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization) and NIMS (Nanostructure-Initiator Mass Spectrometry) technologies and their use in mass spectrometry imaging and high throughput analysis; or  a glimpse into how LC/MS (Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry) provides separation based analysis for a variety of applications.

These concepts were explained in the context of microbial community interactions or how microbes transform their environments and interact with one another to help us understand carbon cycling, climate change and succession in soil communities.  Northen Lab staff hosting the students answered questions prompted by the visit, most of which were related to career path, daily work responsibilities, as well as the societal relevance and applications of our research.