NUGI (Network University-Grammar School-Industry) is a program of the Ministry of Education to promote especially skilled pupils at grammar schools in close collaboration with universities and industrial firms.

10 students from grade 12 of our commercial grammar school form a two-hour study group, which deals with micro-biology and bio-technology in theory and practice.

On the one hand, biotechnology has been used by humans for millennia to produce food with the help of microorganisms

(Bread, beer, wine, yoghurt, etc.). On the other hand, it is regarded as a technology of the 21st century through the development of new methods and techniques (PCR, DNA fingerprinting, genetic engineering, etc.).
So it plays an important role in the industrial and scientific location of Germany.

The course covers both aspects of biotechnology:

The classic biotechnology with experiments on alcoholic fermentation and lactic acid fermentation
Modern Biotechnology with Microbiology, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), DNA Fingerprinting and ELISA (Antibody Detection)

To complete the course, an S1 laboratory with optimal equipment is available at the Friedrich-List-Schule.

Important objectives of the NUGI-group are

  1. insights into the importance of micro-organisms in nature and technology;
  2. practical application of bio-technological techniques;
  3. principles of academic working procedures;
  4. teamwork in small groups;
  5. gaining knowledge by evaluating test results and by error analysis of failed experiments;
  6. getting to know the economic uses of bio-technological procedures by doing factory tours.

The content of these goals includes the following steps:

  1. Staining and microscopy of microorganisms with oil immersion
  2. Get to know microbiological metabolic processes by producing yoghurt and alcohol under different experimental conditions.
  3. Production of culture media and application of bacterial cultures
  4. GRAM rapid test
  5. DNA isolation
  6. Performing a PCR with the thermal cycler and a DNA fingerprint by gel electrophoresis
  7. Perform an ELISA test for the detection of antibodies

Excursion from “Varionostic”

It is Friday, July 2, 2010, a muggy afternoon.
As part of the Biology-AG – NUGI – we, 9 students of the Wirtschaftsgymnasium, undertake an excursion to the Ulm Weststadt together with our course instructor, Mr. Lechner.

Our goal is the company “Varionostic” – the name sounds sober yet mysterious: a synthesis of variation and diagnostics.

At the reception of the former “AEG-Telefunken” building, the manager Mr. Gerstenmaier welcomes us. After graduating from the economics grammar school, he studied chemistry and after a few years at the University of Ulm founded a small but fine DNA analysis laboratory: “Varionostic”.

Equipped with state-of-the-art DNA sequencers, five chemists, biologists and medical technical assistants analyze genetic material from human tumor tissue. Not only is the DNA precisely sequenced to the base, but so-called DNA methylation patterns are also detected.

This makes it possible to identify which genes in the tumor mutate or are “switched off”. Based on this data can then be derived, for example, which drugs and which do not. This is organic high-tech!

All this is explained to us by Mr. Gerstenmaier and his colleague, Dr. Ing. Müller, very vivid and detailed. Many 11th-grade biology skills now benefit us. We also recognize some of the devices that we used to work in the school lab.

As a highlight, Dr. Ing. Müller explains the DNA analysis of a colon tumor with the pyrosequencer, while Mr. Gerstenmaier explains the individual steps and interprets the result.

Impressive! This is where the future begins.

FLS at the Biotechnica in Hanover
Southwest Press on 30.10.08

Under the headline: “NUGI project” the Südwest-Presse reported on 30.10.08:

“… Recently, five students from the region have completed a special business trip to Hannover. There, the big biotechnology fair “Biotechnica” and the “Biotechnology4U” initiated by the Federal Ministry of Research took place there. As part of the parallel event have the high school graduates Anita Reiser, Jana Krammer, Melanie Erzler and Lars Langguth Bertha von Suttner -Gymnasium from Pfuhl and Christoph Rauth from the Friedrich List School Ulm – supported by the List-Biolehrer Karl-Eugen Harder and Doctoral student Andreas Hiergeist from the University of Ulm – for three days guided an internship for students. It was about the production of electricity from the metabolism of yoghurt bacteria. Already in spring, the young scientists from Ulm conducted a similar event at the international conference of the German microbiological society. “

If you would like to know more about Biotechnica, Biotech4U or NUGI, please click on the article of the Neu-Ulmer Zeitung from 30.10.2008.


Plant visits give an understanding of the economic dimension of biotechnology:

Milchwerke Schwaben, brewery “Gold Ochsen”, Ulm / Neu-Ulm sewage treatment plant,
University of Ulm (Dept. of Microbiology / Biotechnology), DRK Blood Donation Center Ulm, Human Genetics Laboratory “Genetikum”, DNA Analysis Laboratory “Varionostic”.

Finally, the participants will receive a certificate that documents their course attendance and course content.

Gerald Lechner (Instructor)