The Danforth Plant Science Center and its partners invite your classroom to conduct experiments in biotechnology and other areas of applied science using state-of-the-art equipment and supplies.

The Tech Trunk program, established in 2007, provides biotechnology enrichment for St. Louis area high schools at no cost. Trunks containing equipment and supplies to support a variety of classroom lab activities are available to teachers who have attended training workshops at the Danforth Center. Currently available for classroom loan are the: DNA Biotechnology Trunk, DNA Analysis by PCR Trunk and Protein Profiling by Electrophoresis Trunk.

Beyond small-sized equipment, the trunks include materials and supplies to conduct an array of activities as well as student-tested protocols, worksheets and other valuable resources. The basic trunk will accommodate a class size of 24 students, and if requested, the trunk materials can be added to accommodate up to 36 students in a classroom. 

Participation in a training workshop is mandatory prior to using the trunks in the classroom. Training workshops are held for teachers at the Danforth Plant Science Center during the summer. Trained teachers can request use of a trunk in their classroom(s) for a two-week period to advance student learning in biology, biotechnology and genetics. Multiple users from the same school are asked to coordinate their loan requests.

Fleet of trunks available

DNA BIOTECHNOLOGY - The DNA Biotechnology Trunk contains equipment and support materials needed for students to conduct basic DNA "finger-printing" using agarose gel electrophoresis. Included in the trunk are electrophoresis chambers, power supplies, a high speed microcentrifuge, low speed mini-centrifuges, light boxes for viewing stained gels, and micropipetors, as well as the expendables needed to run an experiment.   

PROTEIN PROFILING BY ELECTROPHORESIS TRUNK - includes equipment needed to perform polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of proteins in the classroom (with an extension upon request to perform a western blotting experiment).

DNA ANALYSIS BY PCR TRUNK - includes much of the equipment in the DNA Biotechnology Trunk, plus a student-friendly thermal cycler- the BioRad MyCycler, for performing polymerase chain reaction experiments using different scenarios.

The Tech Trunk program was initially made possible through the generous support of The Boeing Company. Supplemental funding for the development of new “themed” trunks comes from the Danforth Plant Science Center, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, the American Society of Plant Biologists, as well as gifts from Danforth Center Friends and other individuals interested in providing new educational opportunities for students in the St. Louis region.


Kristine Callis-Duehl
The Derick and Sally Driemeyer 
Director of Education Research and Outreach 

Danforth Center
975 N. Warson Rd.
St. Louis, MO 63132 
(314) 587-1436