Camp and Course Info

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School field trips to the DNALC aren’t possible this year and hybrid schedules with remote instruction can make it difficult to plan in-school lab investigations or after-school activities. Let us fill in gaps in hand-on science and enrichment programming caused by the pandemic. Join us for lab sessions with curricular connections and a focus on DOING science!

Virtual: Our summer camp season now extends through the school year with Anytime On-Demand camps for self-paced investigations. (Virtual Live Camps will be scheduled to begin in January 2021.)

At the DNALC: Beginning in January 2021 (new schedule will be posted in late November) we are happy that students are invited to join us for In-Person instruction, including Fun with DNA and Green Genes camps and a new AP Biology Enrichment course! We will have procedures in place for everyone’s safety and look forward to getting back to what we know best: hands-on labs using modern molecular biology techniques and equipment, in the company of like-minded classmates and educators!

Do you have a group of students—a pandemic pod, homeschool group, Scouts, or other—that would like to attend a camp or course together? Contact us to schedule a customized program for the days and times that work best for the group, either virtually or in-person at the DNALC.

A limited number of scholarships are available upon request to those who provide documentation and qualify. Learn more on the FAQ/Policies page under Payment.

Virtual On-Demand Camp Features:

Use pre-recorded daily lessons and materials to complete an entire camp curriculum at your own pace, whenever it’s convenient for your family.

  • Private access to daily sessions pre-recorded by DNALC educators allows for easy, at-home viewing.
  • A kit containing lab materials and camp specific workbooks and protocols can be picked up at a DNALC location or shipped to your home+.
  • Office hours for each camp will be held once per week on a regular schedule to allow campers to connect with a DNALC educator to ask questions, troubleshoot labs, and share results.
  • The DNA Barcoding and Genome Science camps will require that DNA samples isolated at home be dropped off or shipped back to the DNALC for processing by specified dates. The cost of shipping is to be covered by the student and their family. A private link will be made available to keep campers updated on the processing of samples and to see results.

On-Demand Camps kits will be shipped or can be picked up on a rolling basis after camper registration+. Registered campers will receive an email with kit shipment status and instructions on accessing the camp videos and Google Classroom.

All online recordings will be accessible in the parent/guardian DNALC Camp account for 60 days from the date of registration.

Preview the On-Demand Welcome video on YouTube or download a PDF welcome document.

+ Shipping costs to locations outside the US are not included in camp pricing and shipping costs will be added to the camp fee when registering.

Virtual Live Camp Features:

  • Receive a kit containing materials to complete labs at home alongside classmates and an instructor. Kits will be available for pick up at a DNALC location or can be shipped.
  • Split time between a whole group setting and working in small breakout groups with classmates.
  • At the end of Fun with DNA, World of Enzymes and Forensic Detectives, parents and guardians will be invited to join the class for "Parent Participation" activities.
  • The DNA Barcoding and Genome Science camps require that DNA samples isolated at home be dropped off or shipped back OVERNIGHT to the DNALC (by USPS/FEDEx/UPS) for processing. The cost of shipping is to be covered by the student and their family.
    DNA Barcoding students will need to return samples on Day 1 and Day 2.
    Genome Science participants will need to return samples on Day 1 only. 
  • All camps will be conducted on Zoom. A walk-through of Zoom will be sent in advance of the camp to allow participants to familiarize themselves with the platform.

In-person Camp/Course @ the DNALC Features:

  • Camps/courses will meet after school or on Saturdays.
  • Families are provided onsite safety guidelines and student drop off/pick up procedures after registration.
  • Classes are limited to 8 students per classroom, with no more than 2 classes scheduled in the building at one time.
  • Students will be seated one per lab bench, and work with their own dedicated sets of equipment.
  • Lab protocols have been adapted to reduce or eliminate the need for student movement within the classroom.

January schedule coming soon.

Virtual Fun with DNA

Fun with DNA is an online entry-level course in DNA science. This camp is designed especially for highly motivated students interested in expanding their knowledge of basic genetics and cell biology. Participants will conduct hands-on activities and laboratory experiments designed to increase genetic literacy, encourage critical and creative thinking, and spark interest in genetics. Campers will:

  • construct cell and DNA models;
  • magnify and view different cell types;
  • extract DNA from animal and plant cells;
  • observe fruit flies with genetic mutations; and
  • use Punnett squares to explore the laws of heredity.


  • Grades: 5–7
  • $450 per student Live (dates TBD), $350 On-Demand

In-person Fun with DNA @ the DNALC

Fun with DNA is an entry-level course in DNA science. This camp is designed especially for highly motivated students interested in expanding their knowledge of basic genetics and cell biology. Students are immersed in an environment of hands-on activities and laboratory experiments designed to increase genetic literacy, encourage critical and creative thinking, and spark interest in the field of biotechnology. The in-person version of this camp includes all of the labs from Live Virtual and On-Demand Fun with DNA, but incorporates microscopy and bacterial labs that can only be completed in the lab.

Campers will:

  • construct cell and DNA models;
  • use compound microscopes to view various cell types;
  • extract DNA from their own cells and from plants;
  • use stereo microscopes to observe mutations in fruit flies; and 
  • genetically engineer bacteria cells with firefly genes.


  • Grades: 5–7
  • Dates TBD
  • $500 per student In-person

Virtual World of Enzymes

Virtual World of Enzymes builds on basic concepts of biochemistry and molecular biology, and introduces students to advanced genetic engineering techniques. In this online camp, participants will develop an understanding of the importance of proteins—not only in living things, but also in research and industry. Through a series of fun, hands-on labs, campers will:

  • explore enzyme function and test factors that affect the rate of enzyme reactions;
  • demonstrate how enzymes are used in the food production and healthcare industries;
  • genetically engineer bacteria to make new enzymes; and
  • test the effectiveness of different enzymes found in common household detergents.



  • Grades: 7-8, or Fun with DNA alumni in grade 6
  • $450 per student Live (dates TBD), $350 On-Demand

In-person Green Genes @ the DNALC

In a series of lab experiments, students utilize many of the same techniques employed by pharmaceutical companies to produce human insulin. Through cloning and expressing the green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene, normally found in the Pacific jellyfish Aequoria victoria, students work each day towards a final goal of extracting and purifying a jellyfish protein from genetically engineered bacteria. Each experiment acts as a stepping stone for the next day's work, requiring students to demonstrate proper lab techniques. Students will:

  • use enzymes to cut and paste genes to form a functional plasmid;
  • analyze results with gel electrophoresis; 
  • genetically engineer bacteria to produce a visible protein; and
  • isolate and purify GFP using chromatography.


  • Grade: 9 or World of Enzymes alumni in grade 8
  • Dates TBD
  • $450 per student In-person

Virtual Forensic Detectives

With the popularity of shows such as Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), the true nature of forensic science is often misconstrued. Although DNA fingerprinting is a useful technique for forensic scientists, it certainly isn’t the only method used to solve crimes! Through a series of at-home forensic labs and activities, participants will experience forensics in a more realistic fashion than conveyed during prime time. Campers will:

  • use techniques employed by experts to analyze a "crime scene" and process evidence;
  • examine fingerprint minutiae and microscopic hair and fiber samples;
  • perform a mock blood spatter analysis; and
  • observe how to conduct a DNA analysis and learn how to interpret gel electrophoresis results.


  • Grades: 8–10
  • $450 per student Live (dates TBD), $350 On-Demand

Virtual DNA Barcoding

Experience how DNA can be used for conservation efforts and consumer interest issues through this interactive virtual science camp! A "DNA barcode" (about 700 nucleotides in length) is a unique pattern of DNA sequence that can potentially identify any living thing. DNA barcoding allows students to link molecular genetics to ecology and evolution—with the potential to contribute new scientific knowledge about biodiversity, conservation biology, and human effects on the environment. Students will:

  • extract DNA from plant and invertebrate tissue samples using multiple wet lab techniques;
  • use LEGO® building blocks to model how polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used to amplify DNA barcodes;
  • use web-based bioinformatics tools to analyze DNA sequences and identify species; and
  • create phylogenetic trees to display genetic and evolutionary relationships.


  • Grades: 10–12, or 9 plus at least one high school biology course such as Living Environment
  • 1 session offered
  • $550 per student Live (dates TBD), $350 On-Demand

Virtual Genome Science

The term genome was coined in 1920 by German botanist Hans Winkler. A combination of the words gene and chromosome, a genome is the set of genes located on one or more chromosomes that defines a living organism. The concept of a genome has been expanded to mean the entire sequence of DNA nucleotides or "letters" (ATGC) that compose the genetic information within an organism's set of chromosomes, or all of its genes. Complete genome sequences are now available for humans and many plants and animals. With this information in hand, the next step is for scientists to understand the physiological functions of the thousands of genes for which little is known beyond their sequences. In this online camp, participants will use new at-home adaptations of Nobel Prize-winning technologies, as well as computer-based techniques to analyze genetic components of humans and plants. Students will:

  • isolate their own DNA to explore genetic polymorphisms and learn about human origins and migration;
  • perform isothermal PCR reactions with their own DNA to identify the presence or absence of a transposable element that can be used to understand allele frequencies and population genetics;
  • isolate DNA from common foods for a PCR test that will indicate genetic modifications; and
  • use online bioinformatics tools to compare DNA sequences and mine information from DNA databases.


  • Grades: 10–12, plus at least one high school biology course (AP Biology recommended)
  • Students are required to drop off or overnight ship (USPS/FedEx/UPS) their DNA samples to the Dolan DNALC in Cold Spring Harbor following the first class of the camp. The cost of shipping is to be covered by the student and their family.
  • $550 per student Live, $350 On-Demand

In-person AP Biology Enrichment @ the DNALC

This course explores topics in genetics and biotechnology covered by the College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) Biology curriculum. Students will perform hands-on experiments central to the AP Biology curriculum that cover concepts and techniques from 4 of the 7 curriculum units, including Unit 1: The Chemistry of Life, Unit 3: Cellular Energetics, Unit 6: Gene expression and Regulation, and Unit 7: Natural Selection. Lab Investigations will strengthen core skills such as collecting and analyzing data, interpreting data to draw conclusions and developing and supporting a claim with evidence. Students will:

  • perform recombinant DNA technology techniques including bacteria transformation, DNA digest and gel electrophoresis;
  • target and amplify DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR);  
  • simulate populations to explore principles of population genetics;
  • use Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST) and DNA Subway to explore DNA databases and perform DNA sequence analysis; and
  • generate phylogenetic trees to show evolutionary relationships.


  • Grades: 9–12, who have completed Living Environment or equivalent; recommended for students currently enrolled in AP Bio
  • Dates TBD
  • $500 per student In-person