Bio-ITEST: New Frontiers in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology
One hundred and twenty five high school teachers and their 3,750 students (with 90 scientists and 15 career counselors) from the Pacific Northwest use bioinformatics resources to learn about bioinformatics careers, explore biology, and conduct research.
The Bio-ITEST program is a model designed to provide secondary science teachers with the knowledge, skills, and resource materials to engage their students in the newly developing fields of bioinformatics and computational biology, ensuring that students will be able to participate in these important new workforce areas. The goals of the Bio-ITEST program are to increase teacher and student understanding of the application of information technologies in the biological sciences, the ethical implications of the acquisition and use of biological information, and the career possibilities in the fields of bioinformatics and computational biology. The Bio-ITEST program will address these goals by developing: (1) an annual two-week professional development and career awareness summer workshop for 25 secondary science teachers; (2) additional shorter workshops for 50 teachers annually; (3) a year-round online program for participating science teachers; (4) original, research-oriented high school curricular materials on bioinformatics and careers in bioinformatics; (5) mentorship opportunities for high school students annually in bioinformatics; (6) student research projects that will be showcased at a juried Student Biotech Expo; and (7) broader dissemination of curricular materials to teachers across the country through STEM networks, websites, and professional development conferences. Leading education outreach, technology, community college, and bioinformatics organizations in the Pacific Northwest will collaborate to develop and implement the Bio-ITEST program. The primary partners include the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research (NWABR), theEdLab Group, Digital World Biology, and Shoreline Community College.