At our facility we welcome groups of highschool students to come visit the lab and perform any one of a number of different experiments. We have two main field trip programs, a Genetics field trip aimed at Grade 11/12 students and a Genomics field trip aimed at Grade 9 students. Annually, we are able to host approximately 100 such fieldtrips through these two programs (approximately two per week) and find that they get filled up very quickly. Generally, the only stipulation we adhere to is a matter of space and lab availability. Our lab is currently only equipped to handle a maximum of 32 persons (which includes students and additional adults), although a class size of 24 or less is best.

Most classes will come for our PCR experiment or our Genomics Field trip program. There is no cost involved for any of these experiments and teachers usually do not have to prep their students beforehand.

More Information

(We are now booking dates for Term 2 – Jan to June 2014 – of our Grade 9 field trip program hosted here at the Michael Smith Laboratories at UBC.)

Click here to access the RESOURCE PAGE for our Grade 9 Field Trips

This program is open to Grade 9 classes only and offers your classroom an authentic research experience in the Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratories (AMBL). The field trip content is closely tied to the genetics content in the new Grade 9 curricula. This hand-on visit runs from 9am – 2pm (ish) and offers your students a chance to carry out a DNA isolation experiment and to use laptops to investigate the properties and information contained within DNA and Genomes. All AMBL programs are offered free of charge and on a first come first serve basis. Our lab is currently only equipped to handle a maximum of 32 persons (which includes students and additional adults), although a class size of 24 or less is best.

To book a visit for your Grade 9 class, please email: Alissa Cait,, to request a booking form.

NOTE: Grade 11/12 PCR fieldtrips have been filled up for the 2013-2014 academic year.

Grade 11/12 PCR fieldtrip registration is now open for the 2013/2014 academic year. We are booking requests for the October 2013 to June 2014 timeline.

In the PCR experiment, each student (and adults) will perform a simplified DNA fingerprint assay where they will check out their own genomic DNA for a genetic insertion*. Overall, the lab is pretty fun and easy to do. The students will get a chance to isolate their own DNA, learn about DNA replication, learn about the amazing PCR (polymerase chain reaction) procedure, and they will run a DNA gel to visualize their results.

The day generally starts at 9:00am or 9:30am and will usually take about 5.5 hours to complete. Your class will have a chance to get lunch during a 1 hour break. . In general, any other breaks during the day will be occupied with lecture and are also open season for questions regarding things going on in science or questions regarding science careers and education. We require that at least one adult (the teacher) accompanies the class to facilitate minor supervision (we always have two graduate students on hand), and because the equipment being used is both expensive and delicate we ask that students are told prior to respect the facility. Note that our instructors are not responsible for disciplining participants in the event of inappropriate behaviour.

As the material also looks closely at technical considerations of the PCR method, we do ask that all students read this piece on replication, prior to coming to the lab.

The Grade 11/12 PCR Field Trip is routinely held on most wednesdays and fridays of the academic year (we have funding for approximately 30 Grade 11/12 fieldtrips each year). To inquire about registration, please email Dr. David Ng (, along with the following information: School name, teacher name, grade level (11 or 12), expected number of participants (students and adults), preferred start time (9am or 9:30am), and three preferred dates. Unfortunately, we are now full for the 2013-2014 academic year. Note that depending on interest, we may decline large multiple requests from the same school.

* Note that more information on the genetic element can be found here.