card
271

Julie Feinstein

OLogy Series
ologist
card
271

Julie Feinstein

OLogy Series
ologist

Scientists all over the world send precious cargo to Julie Feinstein: frozen samples of animal tissues. As the collection manager of the Frozen Tissue Collection, Julie makes sure each sample is carefully stored. This collection can hold up to one million samples. It currently represents the DNA of a wide range of species. Information collected from these tissues will help conservation scientists work to protect endangered animals.

Freezing samples keep the tissue and its DNA from decay. They're stored in stainless steel containers called cryovats. They are kept at:

0°C (32°F)

-100°C (-76°F)

-160°C (-256°F)

Are you right?

Correct!

These extremely low temperatures are required to protect the tissues over a long period of time. Scientist found that specimens held at temperatures as low as -80°C were subject to damage after only six months of storage.

To maintain its freezing temperatures, the cryovats use:

frozen water

liquid nitrogen

dry ice

Are you right?

Correct!

Unlike your home freezer which relies on mechanical motor, cryovats use liquid nitrogen to reach freezing temperatures. Julie wears safety goggles and special gloves to protect herself from handling nitrogen and the extreme cold.

Julie Feinstein, collection manager

We have samples of many species of animals that are on the brink of extinction. The lab has been referred to as a genetic Noah's Ark.

Julie feels that the main purpose of freezing tissues is so that scientists can someday clone animals that become extinct.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

The purpose of the lab is to preserve animal tissues for research. And hopefully this research will be used to protect animals before they become extinct.

Julie and her team mark all the tissue samples with barcodes, like the ones used on cereal boxes and other products at the supermarket.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Scientists use a scanner to "read" the barcodes. Each entry includes lots of data about the specimen, from its species to how the specimen was collected.

Julie Feinstein
Hometown: Camden, NJ
Education: MS, MA in biology; working on PhD
Job: Collection Manager of the Museum's Frozen Tissue Collection
Favorite subject in school: Reading
Cool fact: The collection includes a sample of the Coelacanth, a fish that looks today as it did 400 million years ago.

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH; Julie Feinstein: courtesy of AMNH.