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Penn State’s Department of Biobehavioral Health is excited to offer DNA Camp: Determining Telomere Length. This week long program will introduce students in 11th and 12th grade to basic research laboratory techniques for collecting their own saliva and extracting DNA from the sample. Campers will then determine the concentration of this extracted DNA and measure their own telomere length, which is a reflection of their biological age. Information will be shared on how best to maintain their telomere length through diet, exercise and getting the recommended hours of sleep for their age.

Date and time are:

June 17-21, 2019

9 am to 1 pm (light snacks and refreshments will be provided)

Telomeres are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protect the chromosomes. Each time the cell divides, the Telomere shortens. Cell division will eventually end.
Fee

The fee is $50 per camper. The fee for this camp is being underwritten by an endowment fund from the College of Health and Human Development.

Online registration is available by clicking

If you prefer to register via phone or have problems registering online please call 814-865-8301.

Confirmation

If you register online, you will receive an email confirmation. If you register by phone, you will receive a confirmation via postal mail.

Refunds

If your request to withdraw is received at least fifteen business days prior to the first day of the program, you will receive a partial refund. Send your written request by e-mail to lrc139@psu.edu. A $50 administrative fee will be charged for each withdrawal.

Confidentiality

For legal reasons, the University cannot release the names or phone numbers of other participants, not even to those who want to carpool.

Freqently Asked Questions icon-olus-circle

What ages can participate?

The Determining DNA Telomere Length program was specifically designed for children ages 16 to 18. The content is geared to those who have previous experience with using laboratory pipets.

What is your policy on refunds?

If your plans change after registering your child, you may cancel the registration up to 15 days before the start of the DNA camp program with no penalty. However, cancellations that occur with less than 15 business days before camp starts will be assessed a $50 administrative fee for processing.

How late do you accept registrations?

If there is space in the program, we will accept registrations up to June 1; however, please note that the camps typically fill many weeks before that and interested people will be put on a waiting list for a possible cancellation.

Where will I park to drop off my child?

The camp will take place in the Biomarker Core Lab located on the first floor in room 146 of the Health and Human Development (HHD) building. Parking can be found on campus in the HUB parking deck or in the Pugh Parking deck. The HHD building Is a short walk from these parking decks (see graph for details).

How should my child dress for camp?

Campers should wear closed toed, comfortable shoes, socks, shorts, and a tee shirt that has sleeves. No flip flops or tank tops. Hair must be pulled back if longer than chin length.

What is your cell phone policy?

Campers are permitted to bring cell phones to camp; however, they will be asked to keep them turned off and stored away during all activities.

Is my child allowed to eat and drink in the laboratory?

Campers are permitted to bring snacks to camp; however, no eating or drinking is permitted in the laboratory for safety reasons. Short breaks will be given to campers to allow them to eat and drink outside of the laboratory.

Will my child be safe in the lab?

Your child will be using personal protective equipment (PPE: like lab coats, gloves and safety glasses, when needed) in the lab to collect their own saliva and extract their own DNA. Robots will also be used to minimize any risks while in the lab.   

Can I wear jewelry while in the lab?

For safety reasons, we ask that campers remove jewelry like rings, bracelets and necklaces before coming to camp as there are no lockers available to safely store these valuables.

What will happen with my child’s DNA?

DNA will only be used to determine telomere length and will not be used for other research purposes. Campers will uniquely label their own DNA. Campers will be taking any unused DNA with them at the completion of this camp.  All protocols for this DNA camp were considered and approved not to be for human research by the Institutional Review Board at Penn State University.

Our Director icon-olus-circle

Dr. Sue Rutherford Siegel is a genetic researcher who examines interactions between the genetic and genomic basis of variation, the environmental interactions and the resulting behavioral and health outcomes of an individual. For more information on Dr. Siegel’s research visit

Camp Facility icon-olus-circle

Penn State’s Biomarker Core Lab is a state-of-the-art facility offering research support with data analysis of biological markers (e.g. hormones & DNA) as an indicator of some biological state or condition. For more information visit