The J. Craig Venter Institute Receives a $50,000 Donation From Life Technologies Foundation to Support Genomics Professional Development for Teachers in the Washington, DC Metro Area

Program gives area teachers in-depth information about exciting advances in genomics

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) announced today a $50,000 donation from the Life Technologies Foundation to bring the latest advances in genomics to teachers in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC through intensive professional development courses. JCVI has a long history of providing unique genomics educational opportunities for teachers and students through professional development activities, student internships, and hands on experiments in the Institute's "DiscoverGenomics! Mobile Laboratory."

The Life Technologies Foundation donation will support two teacher development programs in July and August 2010 at the JCVI's Rockville, Maryland headquarters. The programs are: "Curriculum Jubilee," an overview course in genomics that includes mobile lab activities, to be held from July 26 through 30; and the "Genomics Course for Educators," a comprehensive genomics science course to be held on August 2 through 6. Both courses are designed to impart a thorough understanding of genomics to middle and high school teachers who can then incorporate this information into a comprehensive genomic classroom activity, as well as individual activities for their students. The Life Technologies Foundation's support allows each participating teacher a $1,000 stipend.

During the course, teachers learn from JCVI's educational experts and scientists how to isolate DNA from environmental bacteria or from plants using the latest molecular biology techniques, and then conduct DNA sequence analysis using database searches to identify the species present. Teachers have the opportunity to work with cutting edge technology and will be able to impart this knowledge to their students. Specific outcomes of the course are: a better understanding of the cellular process of reading and following genetic instructions; an understanding of molecular biology techniques used in genomic research; and an appreciation of the complexity of genomics research and its impact on society.

"Now more than ever it is imperative to improve and enhance science education for our children.  The Institute takes this responsibility very seriously and is excited to have our researchers working with local teachers to provide new information and support in the classroom," said Dr. Karen Nelson, Director, JCVI Maryland Campus.  "We are thrilled to have as a partner the Life Technologies Foundation, an organization with a rich history of innovation and community support."

In addition to professional development in Maryland, JCVI will be hosting the Genomics Course for Educators in San Diego, June 28-July 2, 2010. This course is supported through a private donation and enables each participating teacher a $1,000 stipend

About the J. Craig Venter Institute and the JCVI Education Group

The JCVI is a not-for-profit research institute in Rockville, MD and San Diego, CA dedicated to the advancement of the science of genomics; the understanding of its implications for society; and communication of those results to the scientific community, the public, and policymakers. Founded by J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., the JCVI is home to approximately 400 scientists and staff with expertise in human and evolutionary biology, genetics, bioinformatics/informatics, information technology, high-throughput DNA sequencing, genomic and environmental policy research, and public education in science and science policy. For additional information, please visit www.jcvi.org.

The JCVI Education Group has designed the DiscoverGenomics! Science Education Program as a science enrichment program taught in formal and informal learning settings to reach students throughout their academic career. DiscoverGenomics! staff works closely with classroom teachers or coordinators to ensure each experience achieves the team's goals and objectives, reinforces specific school standards and gives maximum exposure to science careers. The DiscoverGenomics! staff has over 10 years experience working with young students and adults. The program includes exciting components like the DiscoverGenomics! Mobile Lab Program, DiscoverGenomics! Mobile Equipment Program, professional development, internships and the Visiting Student Program. To learn how you can sponsor a component of the DiscoverGenomics! Science Education Program at JCVI, contact Lisa McDonald, in Maryland 301-795-7394, in California 858-200-1884 or lmcdonald@jcvi.org.

SOURCE J. Craig Venter Institute



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