Below are links to several example exercises, which demonstrate the types of activities that can be done in the Virtual Laboratory. Note that the lab is configured especially for each exercise. Be sure to record your results, since these demos do not save your work!
When you click on a link to a demo, two things happen. This browser window will display the protocol and other documentation for the exercise, and the Virtual Lab will open in a separate window, pre-configured for that particular exercise. You may need to drag and resize the windows to see both at once.
At the top of the Protocol section for each exercise is a link to print just the protocol. You may find this useful, especially if you have a small computer screen, since it may save you from having to flip back and forth between windows.
The pH Lab supports mixing various solutions of acids, bases, and buffers, and measuring their pH. The accompanying exercise includes a simple protocol for serial dilution, and suggests several other pH experiments that could be done with the available materials.
RFLP and Electrophoresis
The RFLP and Electrophoresis experiment uses restriction digestion to diagnose sickle cell anemia. This lab configuration provides you with DNA fragments previously amplified from several patients. By digesting them with the appropriate restriction enzyme (in the appropriate buffer!), and separating the resulting restriction fragments on a gel, you can identify which patients have the disease, which do not, and which are carriers.
Bacterial Detection by PCR
The E. coli detection lab provides you with several samples to test for the presence of the toxic E. coli strain O157H7, using PCR with primers specific for the toxin gene. The accompanying exercise focuses on the importance of positive and negative controls.
When you click on one of the lab demo links, the lab will open in a second window, while this window will show the protocol and other documentation for the exercise.
If you want to add solutions and reagents to your very own laboratory configuration, you need to sign up for a free, temporary account from the Simzymes Virtual Reagent Company. This will NOT enrol you in any courses, or even register you in the Course Management System; it will simply create an account through which you can "order" simulated reagents from the ersatz online catalog. Then you can use the same user name and password to log into the laboratory, and you will find your reagents in a shipping box on the top shelf of the lab.
Note that lab configurations for individual use come with a yellow freezer. Once you have created your own personal laboratory configuration by registering with Simzymes, you can save the state of all of your solutions by opening and shutting the freezer door.
Simzymes accounts are temporary; if you want a longer-term account, please register through the CMS.
Guest access to the CMS
Finally, several of the courses in the Course Management System allow guest access. This will give you an idea of what types of resources are available in the CMS courses, but it will not allow you to use any of the individualized resources, like graded quizzes and monitored tutorials.
To access the CMS as a guest, go o the login page and click the "Login as a guest" button.