Laboratory Experiment on Gene Subcloning for ChE Students


  • Claire Komives San Jose State University
  • Sabine Rech San Jose State University
  • Melanie McNeil San Jose State University


A laboratory experiment for senior chemical engineering students is described. Students are introduced to basic techniques of molecular biology by performing a  subcloning experiment. The experiment requires five laboratory sessions and students are exposed to polymerase chain reaction, plasmid purification, DNA ligation, bacterial transformation, and protein expression. Hands-on experience with these techniques can provide both appreciation for and knowledge of the techniques and processes involved with DNA cloning that a lecture course alone cannot provide.

Author Biographies

Claire Komives, San Jose State University

Claire Komives is Assistant Professor in the Chemical and Materials Engineering Department at San Jose State University. She obtained a BS degree from Tufts University and a PhD degree from the University of Pittsburgh, both in Chemical Engineering. She teaches thermodynamics, heat transfer in electronics, and biochemical engineering courses. Her research is in the areas of olfactory G-protein coupled receptors and process development studies with whole cell biocatalysts.

Sabine Rech, San Jose State University

Sabine Rech is Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at San Jose State University. She obtained a BS in Biology from Santa Clara University, an MA in Microbiology from San Jose State University and a PhD in microbiology from UC Davis. She is teaching courses in general microbiology, microbial physiology, and microbial diversity. Her research interests include the isolation of natural products, gene expression in environmentally important bacteria, and the study of microbial diversity in the soils of salt marshes in the process of restoration.

Melanie McNeil, San Jose State University

Melanie A. McNeil is Professor of Chemical Engineering. She received her PhD degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She teaches chemical kinetics and reactor design, biochemical engineering, heat transfer, fluids, safety and ethics, and statistics. Her research projects include nanowire processing, bioremediation, bioinformatics, and enzyme kinetics.