In the school’s Biology Lab, students performed an ELISA – enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay – test, used extensively in medicine and research and based on the immunological response of the formation of an antigen-antibody complex.
Biology II instructor Janine Koenig explained, “We were using it as an application of our study of viruses and how they are spread through the population, which in this experiment was our class. There were two ‘patient zeros’ who were given the simulated mononucleosis virus. Only I knew which two students were positive. They then shared their ‘water bottle’ with three random students in the class. We then ran the ELISA test to see which students were positive for mono, which is the exact same test they would use in any hospital’s lab.” Using the results of the ELISA test, the students had to figure out which two students caused the simulated mono outbreak.
The experiment was part of Dominican’s participation in BEST – Bioscience Enrichment for Students and Teachers – Science! The objective of BEST Science! is to advance an interest among New Orleans area high school students in biomedical research and health sciences and to ultimately stimulate further education and vocation in these areas. BEST Science! is a partnership between Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans, Ochsner Medical Center and local school districts.