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Rudolf Virchow Center for Integrative and Translational Bioimaging

Virchow Lab


Not every school is perfectly equipped for carrying out experiments. Modern scientific instruments are expensive and many complex experiments require extensive preparation that can only be carried out in research laboratories. The Virchow Lab wants to support schools in life science education and foster students' interest in the life sciences through experiments that complement the school curriculum. To this end, students can work as detectives to solve the case of the "lab murderer" in "CSI Würzburg". They can produce green fluorescent proteins and learn how fast infections can spread. In addition to experiments, discussions will be encouraged, focusing on interdisciplinary topics such as the ethical implications of genetic engineering experiments.

The Virchowlab is held in German.

Suitable for

Class groups from the 8th to 13th grade (every schooltype)


Thursdays from 9 am to 4 pm (not held during holidays)


3 Euro per student


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Biotechnology – Green light for bacteria

Fluorescent dyes play an important role in research and medicine. The green fluorescent protein (GFP) can be fused to other proteins to observe how these proteins are distributed in space and time in organisms, tissues, and cells. During this experiment, the students isolate and purify GFP from Escherichia coli.

Theory: Structure of bacteria, cloning and purification of proteins.

Methods: Cell disruption, isolation of proteins, purification of proteins by affinity chromatography and SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis

Preparation at school: A cloze test on the topic of proteins and plasmids

CSI Würzburg

Modern police work would not be possible without the "genetic fingerprint". On the basis of the DNA-profile, even crimes from the past can be solved. In the Virchowlab the students learn how a genetic fingerprint is generated and then use this to solve a crime.

Theory: Basics of the DNA

Methods: Polymerase chain reaction, agarose gel electrophoresis

Preparation at school: A cloze test on the topic of DNA 

Epidemic and infectious diseases

Infectious diseases are still the number one cause of death worldwide. There are constantly new outbreaks of extremely contagious diseases, the most recent example being swine flu. During this experiment the students learn how to protect themselves with the right hygiene, and using an ELISA test they simulate how fast infectious diseases can spread.

Theory: Infectious diseases, the immune system

Methods: ELISA assay

Preparation at school: Six topics that the students should prepare as a presentation to give at the course.