Andres Tennus

Genetics Workshops brought hundreds of students to Tartu

From March 11th to 22nd, biology enthusiasts from all over Estonia gathered once again at the University of Tartu Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology to participate in Genetics Workshops. 

Gallery here

The genetics study days, consisting of eight full days filled with exciting laboratory experiments in the institute's labs, brought over two hundred high school students from various counties of Estonia to the institute over the course of two weeks.

In these study days, happening for the seventh time in our institute, each participating student could choose a workshop of their liking to attend throughout the day. This year, the workshop options included three themes - each day out of the eight study days, one workshop would focus on forensics, and the other would cover either the HIV receptor or, as a novel theme occurring three times, a green technology workshop. In the green technology workshop, students learned to detect the presence of archaebacteria, the ancient organisms capable of degrading biodegradable plastic bags, in environmental samples. Throughout the workshop, students learned how some of the oldest organisms evolutionarily can contribute to a greener future for humanity.

All workshops were led by enthusiastic students from the University of Tartu's biosciences bachelor's and master's programs, who are also members of the Biosciences Students' Association. The association coordinates educational activities through its education working group, led by Agnes Vaht, a master's student in biomedicine, who was also the organizer of the genetics study days for the second consecutive year on behalf of the association. These enthusiastic mentors have extensive mentoring experience, as many of them are good partners to the institute in organizing various scientific events such as family days, Researchers' Night, or the Mobile Bioclass.


Promoting the study of natural sciences has been close to my heart since joining the Education Working Group of the Biosciences Students' Association. By coordinating and guiding Genetic Workshops, I aim to share this passion and demonstrate to students how biosciences can help us to understand the functioning of life, develop critical thinking, and provide solutions to global problems. I truly hope that participating in the study day will inspire some high school students to the extent that they decide to enroll in the University of Tartu's Gene Technology or Biology curriculum to further explore the fascinating world of natural sciences.

Agnes Vaht, Head of the Education Working Group

Participating counties and schools in 2024:   

Saare county  - Saaremaa Gümnaasium 
Pärnu county - Pärnu Ühisgümnaasium 
Põlva county  - Põlva Gümnaasium 
Harju county - Tallinna Lilleküla Gümnaasium, Tallinna Arte Gümnaasium, Rocca al Mare Kool 
Tartu county -  Lähte Ühisgümnaasium, Nõo Reaalgümnaasium, Elva Gümnaasium, Tartu Tamme Gümnaasium 

The supporters of the project in 2024:  

Biotechnology company Solis BioDyne OÜ 
Biotechnology company Bioatlas OÜ 
Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, UT 
Biosciences Students' Association

Thanks to the supporters the participation is free for students.  

The person behind the idea of Genetic Workshops is an enthusiastic teacher of biology, science popularizer, the alumnus of the IMCB, Mari Järve
The novel green technology workshop was initiated by Research Fellow in Genetics, Anne Menert

Genetic Workshops were awarded with the main prize of Science Popularization in November 2019 by the Estonian Research Council

Rändav biolass

Mobile Bioclass

Geneetika õppepäev

Genetics Workshops

Genetics Workshop is a practical Study Day organized by the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (IMCB) for upper secondary school students,
Rändav bioklass tähistas juubelit

Mobile Bioclass celebrated its anniversary