The project is part biology and part technology, Meyers said. Developing the bioinformatics to handle the data is critical. You have to know what to do with it. As our bioinformatics capabilities have grown, so have the resources available to the public through our web sites, he noted. And these online resources have led to important new collaborations.
The research project also includes an innovative education and outreach component targeting graduate students in plant science. Students will write, submit and exchange research proposals with students from different universities. They will then serve on a panel to critique and rank the proposals, modeled after the National Science Foundation's own proposal review process.
Since planning experiments and justifying these through writing proposals is such an integral part of what a scientist does, I thought this would be a good experience for our students, Meyers said. This way, they can also see what their advisers go through, he added, grinning.
Meyers developed the educational project several years ago in the advanced plant genetics course (PL636) he teaches in the UD College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Since then, several colleagues and their classes at Iowa State and Penn State have participated in the program, exchanging proposals with UD, and UCLA and Ohio State are planning to join the program during the current four-year grant.
My hope is that this program and its proposal exchange system can be used broadly by plant genetics and genomics courses at universities to build writing, communication and critical thinking skills
|Contact: Tracey Bryant|
University of Delaware