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Biochem Mol Biol Educ. 2009 Jul;37(4):243-248.

A Simple Test Tube-Based ELISA Experiment for the High-School Classroom.

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  • 1Department of Science, Rocky River High School, Rocky River, OH.


Immunology is gaining prominence both in the media as well as on the Advanced Placement (AP) exam in Biology. One of the challenges of teaching modern biological topics such as immunology and biochemistry in the high-school setting is the increased reliance on expensive technology in the research world. To begin to bridge this widening gap, we devised an experiment using a novel macroscale enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay that is suitable for AP-level high-school biology classrooms as well as entry-level collegiate laboratories. This novel method does not require a plate reader for data analysis, but instead relies on more common and inexpensive equipment such as a clinical test tube centrifuge and a simple test tube spectrophotometer. The experimental plan focuses on students measuring antibody concentrations in "unknown" samples and includes the collection and analysis of a standard curve using reagents prepared by the instructor. Students will be introduced to enzyme action, quantitative laboratory technique, antibodies, and the immune system, with the overall goal being to explore and highlight the inherent connections within the fields of biochemistry and immunology.

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