Mobile DNA-lab

The Mobile DNA-labs provide a connection between education at high schools and the most recent scientific insights. There are six different DNA-labs, which were developed by Dutch universities and national Genomics Centres.

The Mobile DNA-lab, ‘Language of a Tumour’, is concerned with cancer genomics. Since 2006 we visited over 50,000 students and 2,000 classes. Nowadays, we reach around 6,000 high school students on a yearly basis. The DNA-lab gives students a chance to try their hands at clinical and molecular biomedical research. It makes a rather abstract subject much more understandable, by providing a clear and urgent context.

Personalised Treatment
During the DNA-lab, students are encouraged to behave like real DNA-researchers by taking on the case of Mrs. X, a 36 year old patient with breast

DNA lab with high school students

 cancer. They need to find a suitable personalised treatment based on the mutations they find in her tumour-DNA. Because of Mrs. X’s relatively young age, the students will also figure out whether her type of breast cancer is hereditary.

In order to do this, the students will use three different techniques: DNA-isolation, PCR, and gel electrophoresis. The DNA-isolation step is demonstrative for the real process, but uses thymus instead of patient material. It allows the students to ‘see’ 

and ‘feel’ real DNA. Techniques like PCR and gel electrophoresis are usually new to students, and most schools are unable to offer these techniques themselves.


EvaluationBachelor students
The mobile lab is taught by University Utrecht Biomedical Sciences students. The bachelor offers the course ‘Communicating through the DNA-lab’. The goal of this course is to teach Biomedical Sciences students about didactics and to provide them practical training by teaching the DNA-lab ‘Language of a Tumour’.

During the academic year 2014-2015, high school teachers and students were asked to review the DNA lab ‘Language of a Tumour’. 187 teachers responded and scored the lab with an 8.5 on a 1-10 scale and over 2000 students scored the lab with a 7.7.

More information on the labs can be found at (solely in Dutch). The DNA-lab ‘Language of a Tumour’ is coordinated by Ragna Senf:



12 Jan 2018

annual CGC meeting 2018

All researchers are welcome, however registration is required.

28 Nov 2017

ERC grant for Michiel Vermeulen

Michiel Vermeulen, one of our CGC group leaders, was awarded a prestigious ERC-Consolidator Grant.

Read more >

17 Nov 2017

Fumagalli wins CGC poster prize

Arianna Fumagalli received the 2017 poster award during the CGC meeting New Horizons in Cancer Research

Read more >

More News >


10 & 11 Jan 2019

CGC-Oncode annual scientific meeting

Annual meeting for the CGC and Oncode scientific community

08 & 09 Nov 2018

CGC-Oncode annual conference

Oncode and the Cancer Genomics Centre are pleased to host our annual joint scientific meeting at the KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam. This year's topic is “From tissues to cells to molecules: multi-scale visualization of cancer processes”. More information will follow in due course

09 - 13 Jul 2018

Eurolife Summer School 2018

The Eurolife Summer School 2018 is entitled Molecular Mechanisms in Cancer – Translating Discoveries into Personalised Therapies. 

Read more >

More Events >