It’s Like Hollywood Around Here, Lately


The film visits Madison College and Mandy Hunter tells us about trying to catch beta particles and why dry ice is awesome in the dark.

Last week some of my classmates, one of our instructors and I were filmed for a possible informational segment on our Biotech program.  We recreated an experiment we had performed testing various disinfectants.  No word yet on when it will air on our local TV channel, but here’s a picture of our instructor, Jean, and the experiment:



In Cell Bio, we’ve been learning about gene expression and regulation.  We got busy in lab with the Lac Operon experiment.  We added glucose, lactose, DI H20 or TMG to three different strains of E. coli: Wild type, one lacking the repressor, and one lacking the beta-galactosidase gene, before incubating:



Next, we added toluene and Sarkosyl and vortexed, before adding ONPG for any beta-gal to cleave.  We could then deduce which strains had been present in which tubes:




In Radioisotopes, we worked with a cloud chamber in order to observe beta particles.  We soaked an absorbent pad in ethanol, added it to a chamber containing a source of Strontium-90 on a needle, and them warmed the chamber.  Next, we sat the whole kit-and-caboodle on dry ice, turned off the lights, shone a flashlight on our chamber and watched the paths the beta particle carved through the vapor.  I couldn’t catch the actually particle paths on my camera, but here’s some pictures of our chamber:



There are just not a whole lot of things that look as awesome as dry ice in the dark.




Bio-Link Program: 
Madison Area Technical College


  • Learn about biotech careers
  • Find biotech programs

Learn more »


  • Professional development
  • View curriculum

Learn more »


  • Connect with local programs
  • Find skilled workers

Learn more »