Using Bioinformatics: Genetic Research, Bio-ITEST Professional Development Workshop

Monday, August 2, 2010 - 3:00pm - Saturday, August 14, 2010 - 12:00am
Shoreline Community College
16101 Greenwood Avenue North

Week 1 will be held at Shoreline Community College Week 2 will be held at EdLab Group, 19020 33rd Ave W., Suite 210, Lynnwood, WA 98036

Program Description

Using Bioinformatics: Genetic Research is a two-week professional development experience for teachers to learn about both the Introductory and Advanced Strand Bio-ITEST lessons. Teachers will receive training in the use of bioinformatics tools to analyze DNA sequences, perform multiple sequence alignments and explore protein structure. Teachers will also have the opportunity to participate in a research study of the program and to provide critical feedback on lesson drafts.

The program is funded by an Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers Award from the National Science Foundation and is comprised of two different units or “Strands.” The Introductory Strand, Using Bioinformatics: Genetic Testing, utilizes bioinformatics resources to teach basic concepts in molecular biology. The Advanced Strand, Using Bioinformatics: Genetic Research, builds upon the introductory lessons by incorporating additional informatics resources and includes an authentic inquiry-based investigation specifically for advanced students.

As part of this workshop, teachers will receive:
    •    Background in using both the Introductory and Advanced Strand materials with students
    •    Training in the use of numerous bioinformatics resources, including the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and the search engine Entrez
    •    Instruction on viewing macromolecules using Cn3D
    •    Training in software for annotating DNA sequences and performing multiple sequence alignments
    •    Background information on the genes that are the focus of the Advanced Strand research project
    •    Scientific support in the implementation of the student research project
    •    An opportunity to provide critical feedback on lesson drafts


Research and Evaluation 

In order to determine whether our program is meeting its goals, we will conduct a research study in classrooms of participating teachers. We are interested in the effect of the professional development workshop and curricula on student achievement and interest in STEM careers. The research study is also required by our funders, the Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers program through the National Science Foundation. All teachers who participate in the summer workshop are requested to participate in this study. However, the study is voluntary and teachers may choose to opt out at any time.

Accepted candidates will participate in the two-week summer program and will complete a pre-survey (prior to the workshop) and a post-survey (at the end of the workshop). Teachers will also need to secure the support of their administration (principal or district supervisor) as part of their application. After the summer workshop, teachers will introduce the study to their students, provide instruction based on the program materials (approximately one to two weeks), administer brief (15 minute) pre- and post-surveys before and after Bio-ITEST lessons to their students, and provide the surveys to us for analysis.

Stipend, Credit, and Clock Hours

Teachers will receive a $1000 stipend for their participation in the two-week professional development workshop, of which $900 will be provided August 13th, and $100 upon completion of the field test at the end of the 2010/2011 academic year. Teachers will also receive access to specialized software and bioinformatics resources. Clock hours will be provided free of charge, and credits may be purchased through our collaboration with Seattle University. Breakfast and lunch will be provided daily.


Major collaborators include Geospiza (a Seattle bioinformatics company), EdLab (formerly the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology), and Shoreline Community College. The program also draws on NWABR’s strong relationships with school districts, community groups, bioethicists and NWABR member research institutions.

For more information, draft introductory lessons, and registration forms, go to




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