MDI Biological Laboratory

Bivalve Transmissible Neoplasia in Steamers (Mya arenaria): SMCC 2023

A short course for students from Southern Maine Community College.


This week-long hands-on research experience will introduce students to the diagnosis and study of Bivalve Transmissible Neoplasia (BTN), a form of contagious cancer first described in steamers (Mya arenaria) and now affecting other marine bivalves in the USA and worldwide. Key concepts and techniques in diagnostic and molecular biology will be introduced through lectures, discussions, and an original research project to identify infected clams. Laboratory activities will include:

  • qPCR diagnostic
  • Genotyping
  • Light and fluorescence microscopy
  • Electroporation
  • Automated image analysis for BTN quantification
  • Introduction to software packages and presentation resources

SMCC logo


José Fernández Robledo

Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences

About the Maine INBRE program

This short course is supported and organized by the Maine IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE).

Maine is one of 23 states that have been identified by the National Institutes of Health as having historically received low levels of NIH funding. The INBRE program was established to strengthen research networks in each of these states, so that they could become more competitive for federal research grants. In Maine, our network is comprised of 14 institutions, with the MDI Biological Laboratory as the lead institution. Other institutions in our network include the following: Bates College, Bowdoin College, Colby College, College of the Atlantic, the Honors College at the University of Maine, the Jackson Laboratory, Southern Maine Community College, the University of Maine, UMaine Farmington, UMaine Fort Kent, UMaine Machias, UMaine Presque Isle, and the University of New England.

Money from Maine INBRE supports research training experiences like this short course, as well biomedical research and laboratory facilities throughout our network. Other training experiences include academic year and summer student research. Please check with Daniel Moore, the INBRE contact at Southern Maine Community College, for the most accurate information about opportunities on your campus. He may be able to share additional opportunities with you as well.


This research training opportunity is supported by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20GM103423.

The IDeA program builds research capacities in states that historically have had low levels of NIH funding by supporting basic, clinical and translational research; faculty development; and infrastructure improvements.