Teacher workshop introduces cutting-edge content to inspire students

Governor applauds program designed to instill teacher confidence

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Governor Bob Riley recently thanked about 175 high school life sciences teachers from around the state who contributed weekend time to learn new ways to excite their students about science.  “We want to recognize how special you are,” he said.

The teachers were attending Genetic Updates for Alabama Educators, a workshop designed to help teachers incorporate the latest groundbreaking research and discoveries into their lesson plans.

“As the impact of biotechnology expands, the need for scientifically-knowledgeable students becomes critical. This workshop, made possible by support and collaboration from Governor Riley and leaders across the state, gives teachers the confidence to inform and engage their students on these topics,” said Dr. Neil Lamb, director of educational outreach at HudsonAlpha.

Educators were introduced to Biotechnology Discoveries and Applications, an annual guidebook created by Lamb and the institute’s education staff. Among topics addressed:

  • Therapeutic Approaches to Genetic Disease – An overview of potential therapies associated with genetic disease such as gene therapy and RNA interference
  • Digital Resources for Teaching Genetics – Highlights online resources created and made available by HudsonAlpha including HudsonAlpha Cell, The Progress of Science biotechnology timeline, The Book of Life and Focus on Cancer
  • Ethical Issues Associated with Genetics – A discussion of ethical challenges related to genetics and genetic technologies including genetic discrimination and gene testing.

According to Bob Jones teacher Leah McRae, “HudsonAlpha has come on the scene just in time.” She explained that programs created by institute education staff are helping her become more adept at providing motivational content to her students.  Motivated students, she emphasized, give Alabama an edge in workforce and economic development.

The workshop provided eight hours of professional development credit.  There was no cost to teachers who attended the workshop.  Meals, overnight lodging and classroom materials were provided.

Among materials received by each teacher was a Disorder Detectives kit created by HudsonAlpha.  The boxed kit provides a hands-on student activity examining human chromosome disorders.  Fifteen different case studies, with both typical sets of chromosomes, as well as several chromosomal anomalies are included.  A variety of CDs and DVDs, the guidebook, handouts and a notebook were also included.

Media Contact: Beth Pugh

About HudsonAlphaHudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology is a nonprofit institute dedicated to innovating in the field of genomic technology and sciences across a spectrum of biological problems. Its mission is three-fold: sparking scientific discoveries that can impact human health and well-being; fostering biotech entrepreneurship; and encouraging the creation of a genomics-literate workforce and society. The HudsonAlpha biotechnology campus consists of 152 acres nestled within Cummings Research Park, the nation’s second largest research park. Designed to be a hothouse of biotech economic development, HudsonAlpha’s state-of-the-art facilities co-locate scientific researchers with entrepreneurs and educators. The relationships formed on the HudsonAlpha campus allow serendipity to yield results in medicine and agriculture. Since opening in 2008, HudsonAlpha, under the leadership of Dr. Richard M. Myers, a key collaborator on the Human Genome Project, has built a name for itself in genetics and genomics research and biotech education, and boasts 26 biotech companies on campus.