Education & Outreach


Biotechnology has been used for more than 6,000 years for many different ways and applications. Although we may not realize it, but it plays huge role in our everyday life, from food we eat, cloths we wear, medicine that keeps us healthy and even the fuel we use for transportation, all are dependent on biotechnology. In order to promote the biotechnology program, we are offering three opportunities for promoting this program at TSU:

Biotechnology tour

toursWe would like to invite you and your school groups to visit our modern science facility on the TSU campus and learn about some of the exciting new discoveries and research projects in the area of biotechnology right here at the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences at TSU.

This tour is geared toward high school and middle school students and covers two science modules. This tour provides an opportunity for your students to have a close exposure to our active research facility in biotechnology and to gain a hands-on-training on how to get DNA from the food we eat.

The tour will take about 90 min and your students will be divided into two groups for the facility tour and DNA extraction demo.

Module 1

The tour of our new, state-of-the-art research facilities at the College of Agriculture, will expose your students to biotechnology research focused at plants and animals. This guided tour include several of our research laboratories and on-going research activities within the college that is dedicated to developing better crops and animals for the state of Tennessee.

Module 2

This part is a hands-on-demonstration to some very basic molecular biology principles we use to get DNA out of strawberries. This exercise integrates concepts from chemistry, biology, physics and mathematics to extract DNA out of living organisms including your own body or common foods we eat.

Complete the Application for Biotechnology Tour >>

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Biotech in a Box 

Bring the Biotechnology to your classroom


For the first time in Tennessee, the College of Agriculture at TSU, is providing the complete kits for bringing biotechnology to Tennessee high schools. These kits contain all the equipment needed for the suggested experiments, and the department pays round-trip shipping for the box between Tennessee State University and the school. A complete guideline and manual will be sent to the borrowers before they get the kits.

The Biotechnology Kit contains the equipment and materials for students to extract DNA from banana or strawberry, run PCR, pour agarose gels and analyze DNA. The kit includes an instructional manual, PCR instrument, horizontal gel electrophoresis, UV light box, microcentrifuge, pipettes and consumables needed to run an experiment. Different scenarios are provided including detecting a GMO vs non-GMO plant, identifying mystery samples through their DNA patterns. 

This kit will be available for a 2-week loan period, and multiple borrowers from the same school are encouraged to put their loan requests together.

Contact Dr Ali Taheri or Dr Korsi Dumenyo for more information.

Book the Biotech-box >>

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Biotechnology Summer Camps


Come and join us for a summer camp in biotechnology at Tennessee Student University. This summer camp will be held on 17-21th of July and is open to students entering to grades 6 to 9th. Students in this program will gain hands on experience in basic techniques and tools used in biotechnology including DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction, restriction digestion and DNA fingerprinting and genotyping. At the end of the camp, they will receive a DNA art unique to their own DNA profile. The program will run daily from 9:00 am to 3:00pm. The fee is $250 per student.

How to apply

Follow this link to get to the registration form.summer camp

We will notify you through another email for further instruction on the payment method.

Please be aware that transportation and lunch are the responsibility of the parents or the guardian.

Further information, including full application packets, can be found by e-mailing the Biotechnology Summer Camp Program Managers: 

Dr Ali Taheri at or Dr Korsi Dumenyo at  

We look forward to meeting you this summer!

 Ali Taheri, PhD

Korsi Dumenyo, PhD


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High School Internship Program

An internship program was developed by three Tennessee State University (TSU) professors to work with students from Nashville high schools especially math and science Magnet Schools in the summer of 2015. The first six students were from the Advanced Placement (AP) Biology program of Martin Luther King (MLK) high School and were either from the sophomore or junior classes. Selection of the interns was made through a committee headed by Dr. Blair and Dr. Zhou from TSU and the biology teacher, Mrs. Stacey Turner along with the Principal of MLK, Dr. Angela Carr. The summer program involved an initial introductory one week's session for lab safety followed by six to eight week special research projects individualized for each student or developed for groups of two students working as a pair. Examples of projects include genetic diversity of crop plants, cryo-conservation of genetic resources, bacterial manipulation, plant tissue culture, DNA extraction and genetic marker evaluation. The 2016 summer program will be expanded to several additional High Schools and a larger number of students.

Contact: Matthew W. Blair, Ph.D. or Suping Zhuo, Ph.D.

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