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Biotech in a Box Outreach Program

Student working with one of the Biotech in a Box kits.

Our Biotech Footprint in Virginia

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We look forward to bringing biotechnology to your classroom! 
If you have any questions, please email


About the Biotech in a Box Outreach Program

For 31 years, the Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech has supported biotechnology education in Virginia middle and high school, as well as community college classrooms through the Biotech in a Box Outreach Program. 

The program was created by Tracy Wilkins, emeritus faculty at Virginia Tech and former director of the Fralin Biotechnology Center, who continues to shape its future through the Tracy and Sarah Wilkins Outreach Innovation Fund.

The outreach loan program currently has five kits available for schools to borrow: DNA Biotechnology,  Protein Electrophoresis, Column Chromatography, Studying Slime Mold Behavior (Caging the Blob), and Introduction to Immunology. The kits contain all equipment, supplies and solutions needed for the experiments. Laboratory manuals that include scientific and pedagogical information are available for downloads, see below.

DNA Biotechnology Kit

With the first kit developed for Biotech in a Box, students are introduced to the basic techniques used in molecular biology. Read more and download the manual. 

Protein Electrophoresis Kit

The Protein Electrophoresis Kit contains all of the material needed to separate proteins based on size using polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, known as SDS-PAGE. Read more and download the manual. 

Column Chromatography Kit

Column chromatography is a technique commonly used to purify proteins, both in research laboratories and in the biotechnology industry. Read more and download the manual. 

Caging the Blob: Studying Slime Mold Behavior

Get a firsthand glimpse of the intelligent behavior and survival tactics of living organisms using the slime mold Physarum polycephalum. Read more and download the manual. 

Introduction to Immunology Kit

The kit features an immunological assay, the ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay), which is a technique routinely used in research laboratories, and in medical and forensic diagnostics. Read more and download the manual. 

Thermal Cycler

Two thermal cyclers are available for loan. The Thermal Cycler loan is intended for teachers who are able to supply their own materials for polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based experiments. This is not a complete kit and only includes the thermal cycler and the directions for its use.

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Sandy Hancock, Program Manager
Biotech in a Box
Fralin Hall (008)
360 West Campus Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24061
(540) 231-7959