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Rutgers' high school outreach gets $3 million boost from NSF
Date:9/12/2007

New Brunswick, NJ The National Science Foundation has awarded Rutgers University scientists two grants totaling nearly $3 million to support outreach beyond the borders of the university to regional high schools. The two programs enabled by the new NSF funding build upon the Waksman Student Scholars Program established in 1993, through which more than 1,500 high school students and 72 teachers from 46 New Jersey high schools have engaged in molecular biology research.

Professors William Sofer and Andrew Vershon of the Waksman Institute of Microbiology at Rutgers University, the recipients of the grants, will jointly direct the two programs Bioinformatics: Learning by Doing, a four-year project, and HiGene: A Genome Sequencing Project for High Schools, a three-year project.

Sofer, a professor in Rutgers Department of Genetics, said the first program will develop Web-based tools and resources so that high school students will be able to conduct genuine bioinformatics research in their schools. The major software product will be the DNA Sequence Analysis Program (DSAP) an online, interactive learning and teaching tool that will be field tested, revised and refined through feedback from teachers and students over the term of the project.

By using the DSAP online tool, students will learn about the emerging field of bioinformatics, which draws upon mathematics, biology, computer science and molecular biology, Sofer said. Students will learn while participating in an authentic research project and then publish their results so that scientists worldwide can access and make use of their analyses.

Because the software will be available over the Internet, students regardless of their location will be able to participate in original research and contribute to scientific investigations using the resources developed in this project.

HiGene, the second program, targets 75 teachers who will participate in the project, along wit
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Contact: Joseph Blumberg
blumberg@ur.rutgers.edu
732-932-7084 x652
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Source:Eurekalert

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