Center for Cell Decision Processes (MIT)
Women’s Technology Program (WTP)
WTP is a 4-week academic summer program at MIT for sixty female high school students at the end of their junior year. Students attend WTP in either the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science, or the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The goal of this program is to introduce high school girls to fundamental topics in electrical engineering, computer science, and mechanical engineering, and the emerging role of these fields in the life sciences. The WTP curriculum consists of hands-on projects, guest speakers, and lab tours and includes systems biology-related activities. Participants are selected from a pool of several hundred applicants.
We believe that the biology/engineering interface is an effective way of engaging talented female students in quantitative thinking and showing them their potential for success in engineering-related disciplines. Of the sixty girls that participated in the 2008 program, several applied to MIT.
Center for Complex Biological Systems (UC Irvine)
COSMOS, provides a residential academic experience for our rising generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians. Monday through Friday sessions will have UCI COSMOS students learning and interacting with UCI faculty, scientists, and graduate students. The curriculum is designed by UCI faculty with the goal of challenging students to think in depth and scope in a subject area for which they have a passion. Tuesdays and Thursdays are typically lab/field days. With support from private foundations, we have engaged high school science and mathematics teachers to share their expertise. Each cluster also features Technical Writing and Communication, which gives students the opportunity to draft a technical/scientific abstract, develop a project and poster, clarify understanding of key concepts, share ideas, and build teamwork.
Center for Genome Dynamics (The Jackson Laboratory)
Independent Studies in Computational Biology (ISCB)
Center for Genome Dynamics researchers have developed Independent Studies in Computational Biology (ISCB) to introduce high school students to the real world tools used in computational biology. The program is held throughout the academic year and consists of a series of lectures, journal clubs and student research projects. Students in Maine, North Carolina or Georgia are taught remotely via distance learning and web based tools.
The Center is developing computer simulations which will enable students to study and perform systems biology research. GENIQUEST, for example, is a three-week computer-based module for high schools uses quantitative trait loci and fictional organisms (dragons and drakes, a model organism for studying dragon diseases) to teach computational biology using real mouse data, but a simplified genome. The genome is complicated enough to be realistic but simple enough for the students to be successful in searching for causal interactions.
Center for Modular Biology (Harvard University)
The Center for Modular Biology student-focused high school outreach effort is planned and coordinated through our outreach coordinator Tara Bennett. The Bauer fellows, their graduate students and postdocs teach a lab course to about 100 students per year who come from local urban high schools with a high percentage of underrepresented minority students. The goal of the so called “plasmid lab” is to teach students about restriction enzymes and their role as important tools in modern molecular biology. Students also gain significant hands-on experience in laboratory techniques such as gel electrophoresis, and learn the basic laboratory process that can identify an individual based upon a sample of DNA. A new lab, “Antibiotic Resistance Laboratory”, will be added in the spring of 2010. Laboratory course offerings are modified in accordance to current Bauer fellow research projects, providing attending students with the most recent information. One general objective is to educate and excite high school students – in particular those from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds – about research and encourage them to explore biology further. More information on the classes are available on our outreach website.
Center for Systems and Synthetic Biology (UC San Francisco)
UCSF iGEM Program (2012 Team Website)
The UCSF iGEM program combines high school and college outreach with the International Genetically Engineered Machines (iGEM) competition. Promising young students from San Francisco Unified School District’s Abraham Lincoln High School spend the summer working together as a team, along with researchers at the University of California San Francisco. They design and implement a project in synthetic biology with which they compete at the iGEM Jamboree in the fall. The program is a partnership between Professor Wendell Lim (UCSF), our Center, and George Cachianes, a Biotechnology teacher at Lincoln High School. The UCSF iGEM program was developed to offer talented young biologists a unique summer research experience while also providing graduate students and postdoctoral fellows at UCSF with valuable mentoring and teaching opportunities.
Science Fair Judging and Awards
Santa Clara Valley Science and Engineering Fair The Synopsis Championship brings over 1000 student science fair projects to the San Jose convention Center every March to promote research in science and engineering. On March 6th, 2012, volunteers from the Center participated as judges for biochemistry and biology projects at the middle and high school level. Judges reviewed student projects, interviewed top contenders and then worked in teams to nominate winners in various categories. The volunteers also had the opportunity to network with local scientists and speak to students about their experiences as a scientist at UCSF. For the 2013 Synopsis Championship on March 13th, our Center sponsored a special award for projects that “demonstrated interdisciplinary and/or quantitative approaches to answering biological questions.” First and second place awards were given to the best projects in both the middle and high school grade levels and were chosen by a group of 6 Center scientists who participated as judges. These awards aim to raise awareness of systems and synthetic biology, while honoring students whose research projects utilize a systems approach to answering scientific questions.
San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair As our Center seeks to expand volunteer opportunities for our members, we have identified the San Francisco Bay Area Science Fair as a local organization promoting science education among middle and high school students. The science fair is held every March at the San Francisco County Fair Building and selects over 300 students from eight Bay Area counties to enter the competition. On March 20th, 2013, four volunteers from the Center reviewed and scored projects from grades 7-12 and selected students to be interviewed for top awards. To promote systems biology among young scientists, we also plan to sponsor a special award for this fair in 2014.
Chicago Center for Systems Biology
Middle and High School Science Program
Every other summer, twenty-five middle school children from the Chicago Public Schools participate in a systems biology related one-week program to explore genomics and genetics through role-playing scenarios and lab-based experiments. This collaborative project will be led by the Field Museum’s Education Department and Pritzker Laboratory and Center scientists. Its goal is to introduce fundamental concepts about genes, DNA, and genetics to students. Activities include discussions and activities from leading researchers, lab tours that highlight systems biology research, role-playing scenario-based problem solving, and student oral presentations about their investigations. Participating students will be invited to participate in the Summer Teen Volunteer program at the Field Museum. In addition, they will receive a one-year family membership to the Field Museum.
The goal of the Center’s Science Clubs and school visits is to coordinate graduate students’, postdocs’, and faculty schedules to encourage them to visit with neighborhood students and provide small-group and one-on-one mentoring in science. Mentoring will include helping students prepare systems biology related projects for the annual CPS science fair, held at the nearby Museum of Science and Industry. Science club students visit Center labs and facilities.
Center faculty help mentor science fair projects linked to middle school and high school research projects.
Young Scientist Training Program (YSTP)
The Young Scientist Training Program (YSTP) is a training program focused on minority high school students.
RIBS: Research in the Biological Sciences
The goal of the Research in the Biological Sciences (RIBS) program at the University of Chicago is to provide a four-week training program for high school students. It surveys topics related to molecular, microbiological, and cell biological techniques currently used in research laboratories. Basic lab skills are taught. Some students will be invited back the following summer to carry out a research project in one of the faculty labs at the Center. A hands-on systems biology course module will link students to Center projects. Modeling activities highlight links between environmental perturbations (such as stress) and complex system dynamics. Students who are interested in applying must have completed 10th-grade and excelled in high school biology.
CSP: Collegiate Scholars Program
The goal of the Collegiate Scholars Program (CSP) at the University of Chicago is to provide Chicago Public School (CPS) students with an opportunity to enjoy systems biology lab experiences in the summer. Ninth graders who have distinguished themselves through their academic achievements and contributions to school and community are invited to apply. Sixty students are accepted annually. The summer after 9th and 10th grade are opportunities for Scholars to take 3–4 science classes taught by University faculty. CSP will offer students seminars, lab and facility tours, and 4-6 week lab rotations in the Center. A summer stipend is provided.
Duke Center for Systems Biology
DCSB Center PI Paul Magwene collaborates with Maria Hernandez, a mathematics teacher at the North Carolina School for Science and Math (NCSSM), to offer a systems biology “mini-term” course. NCSSM is a statewide, public residential magnet high school for students with a strong aptitude and interest in math and science. NCSSM mini-terms are eight-day courses that provide students with educational opportunities outside of the classroom.
The systems biology mini-term used bacterial chemotaxis and the yeast pheromone response to illustrate key principles of biological signal transduction. The course employed a combination of computational, mathematical, and experimental approaches, and students attended lectures, built simulation models, and carried out experiments and made observations on cellular behavior in Magwene’s laboratory.
Biological concepts included: ligand-receptor interactions, kinases and phosphatases, phosphorylation cascades, Michaelis-Menten and Hill equation kinetics, microbial ecology, and laboratory sterile technique. Quantitative concepts included: random walks and diffusion, basic statistical concepts (normal distributions, t-tests), coupled ODE models, ultrasensitivity and amplification, and an introduction to programming.