South Plainfield High School junior, Emma Morin, attended the Waksman Institute Summer Experience through Rutgers University. WISE is an intensive two-week summer program for high school students who are interested in participating in and contributing to, an authentic research project in molecular biology and bioinformatics. It focuses on the isolation, characterization, and DNA sequence analyses of genes from the duckweed Landoltia punctata, and how these compare to those found in other species. Duckweed is a fresh-water aquatic plant that is of interest to the scientific community. The 36 high school students who were accepted in to the WISE Program attended seminars conducted by Rutgers faculty and worked in a college laboratory with instruction from researchers. Students were able to isolate unique fragments of DNA by conducting laboratory experiments including plasmid DNA purification, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), restriction digests, and gel electrophoresis. Additionally, students analyzed gene sequences from these DNA fragments using the same bioinformatic tools used by practicing scientists worldwide.  At the end of the program, students submitted their vetted DNA sequence analyses for publication on GenBank, the international repository of DNA sequences, that is maintained by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).  Each sequence that is published in the GenBank database acknowledges the student by name. 
Emma is very appreciative of the staff at her high school who took the time to write letters of recommendation and offer support for her application. She is very excited to continue her research project during her Bioinformatics Research class at South Plainfield High School.