The NSF Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) supplement allows school teachers to participate actively to a current NSF project. It gives an excellent opportunity for teachers to discover the world of Research – and particularly this new branch of Science which is Bioinformatics. Ultimately, the key goal was to bring this knowledge into the classrooms, and help students to broaden their view about biology, genetics and evolution.
In July of 2007, two high-school teachers Kristy Myers and John Schellenberg participated to an RET project entitled “Computational Prediction of Biological Networks for Microbes and Applications to Cyanobacteria”.
Kristy and John followed a series of 5 lectures each covering a special topic of Bioinformatics:
- Computers basics and bioinformatics softwares,
- Genomes, genome structures and visualization,
- Sequence comparison, BLAST,
- Sequence similarity and phylogenetic trees,
- Protein function and function prediction.
The research project was to derive the evolutionary history of a set of genes that are known to be expressed in human eyes, from the primitive genomes like bacterial, archaeal and/or virus genomes.
After 8 weeks of studious research, and with the help of many CSBL members, Kristy and John exposed their results in a 30 minute oral presentation. It was stimulating and encouraging to see how Bioinformatics and Modern Biology can be efficiently transmitted from researchers to teachers and their high-school students!
We hope that this program will continue for a number of years!
Through the NSF Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program , several undergraduates students had the possibility to discover the field of Bioinformatics and to be specifically involved in projects related to the on-going research in our lab.
These last years, three undergraduate students (Kyle Harris, Everett Todd Jones and Selugi Hong) participated to two REU programs:
- “A Computational Capability for Fast and Reliable Characterization of Protein Complexes”
- “Computational Prediction of Biological Networks in Microbes and Applications to Cyanobacteria”
The annual International Bioinformatics Workshop, initiated in 2003, aims to promote communication among, and education for, researchers on the cutting edge progress in bioinformatics. This interdisciplinary workshop brings together speakers and audience in the diverse fields of bioinformatics, computational biology, computer sciences, mathematics, physics, biology, chemistry, and the new fields of systems biology, genomics, and proteomics.
Our lab takes an active part to this workshop, with Dr. Ying Xu as a conference chair, and several of our CSBL members in the organizing and program committees.