BioSeq: Bioinformatics Inquiry through Sequencing.
Gan, Elise Dominique C.
Bioinformatics research facilitated by next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) is becoming increasingly commonplace, but exposure to these important technologies remains out of reach for younger students. The Bioinformatics Inquiry through Sequencing (BioSeq) program serves as an introduction to NGS and bioinformatics by providing high school students with hands-on exposure to genuine, research-based... read moreactivities. We have developed guided in-class modules that ask open-ended research questions and provide facilities and supervision for students to develop their own projects. We have developed projects covering a range of topics, including exploring the microbiomes on human body sites, in water, and in food, personal genomics, and the genetics of ancestry. In particular, our classroom-based project, the “Water Microbiomes” project, emphasizes the bacteria found in water. In this module, students sample different water sources and ask the basic research question: “how similar are different water sources?” The specific result of this experiment is not pre-determined and will vary between students and classrooms, representing a more realistic scientific research experience. BioSeq has already successfully reached more than 200 high school students, and initial results indicate strong knowledge and attitudinal gains across all levels of learners. As our program expands to more schools, we plan to continue refining our methods to address a broader range of research questions.
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the grant requirement of the Tufts Summer Scholars Program.read less