WNY Genetics in Research Partnership: Expanding Exposure, Career Exploration and Interactive Projects in Basic Genome Analysis and Bioinformatics
Approximately 150 students from grades 10-12 and 30 teachers in the Western New York area per year will be trained to use basic online bioinformatics tools and take part in a research program to annotate a microbial genome.
This project will develop an ongoing partnership with disadvantaged schools across a 14-county region of New York that will facilitate teacher and student recruitment, preparation, and mentorship for careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Project activities will focus on basic genome analysis and bioinformatics, and the partnership will be directed by the University at Buffalo Department of Biotechnical and Clinical Laboratory Sciences (BCLS) and the New York State Area Health Education Center System (NYS AHEC). Thirty biology teachers annually from partnering schools will attend a two-week summer workshop at the University at Buffalo where they will receive training in use of the Integrated Microbial Genomes Annotation Collaboration Toolkit (IMG-ACT) of the U.S. Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute. During Semester I of each school year of the project, NYS AHEC will organize college and career exploration sessions to familiarize students with the gene annotation project and to provide a "real world" context. Students will develop career plans by the end of Semester I as well as indicate their interest in participating in gene annotation activities during Semester II. During Semester II, each teacher will work with at least 5 students (150 total per year) on a genome annotation project using the IMG-ACT. Each spring, a Capstone Symposium will be held, bringing participating students and teachers together to present their projects and to interact with university faculty, researchers and bioscience employers. Formative and summative evaluation activities will be conducted for all teacher and student participants who participated in multiple years of the project to assess broader based outcomes related to changes in knowledge, behavior and dispositions toward STEM-related careers.