The first week of the NSF-funded DNA-Based Discoveries in Hawai‘i's Biodiversity at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM) started on May 31st, 2016, with a comprehensive orientation week. All ten participants dove right in following the completion of their biosafety training. Throughout the week, Dr. Stuart Donachie, REU PI, led the participants in a variety of laboratory training exercises to hone their skills in pipetting, microbiology, aseptic technique, working with bacteria, DNA isolation and purification, PCR, electrophoresis, DNA sequencing and more.

During lunch each day, participants were joined by mentors Dr. Brandon Yoza, Dr. Alison Sherwood, Dr. Floyd Reed and Dr. Megan Porter. Everyone discussed a variety of topics, including ongoing research projects in the mentors' labs, graduate school, scientific communication, and research ethics.

In preparation for participating in the 2016 REU at UHM, all participants read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Orientation week ended with a riveting discussion of that text, led by Dr. Stephanie Kraft-Terry - REU Co-PI, which covered the evolution of ethics in research, and tied in the responsible conduct in research training and ethics role playing activities that participants engaged in throughout the week.