Research Report 2019_20

Neil Lamb, PhD / Educational Outreach

Continuing the genomic education mission of HudsonAlpha

Education has been an important pillar of the Hudson- Alpha mission since it opened in 2008. In order for ad- vances in the fields of genomics, medicine, and agricul- ture to occur, we rely on a genetically literate group of trainees driven to pioneer new discoveries, educators to teach and empower them, and a general public that is knowledgeable about these new scientific advanc- es affecting their lives. The HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach team, led by Faculty Investigator Neil Lamb, PhD, is dedicated to supporting the development of such a learning cascade by educating people on the role of genomics in the advancement of research, medicine, and agriculture. The team of expert science educators carefully and thoughtfully design and teach a variety of learning expe- riences structured to most effectively reach each group of learners. The programs offered by HudsonAlpha in- clude a variety of digital and hands-on educational tools, training sessions, seminars, camps, and field trips designed for students, teachers, and lifelong learn- ers alike. During the 2019-2020 academic year alone, 1,953,528 individuals were impacted by the Educational Outreach team.

In late 2018, Lamb secured a five-year, $1.29 million National Institutes of Health Science Education Partner- ship Award (SEPA) to develop Filtered , a story-driven digital learning platform for bioinformatics and infec- tious disease. This new online learning tool introduces students to bioinformatics and infectious disease by tak- ing them on a journey of discovery as they are charged with researching a pandemic outbreak of a mysterious, fictional infectious disease. The students are asked to use a simulated bioinformatics program to compare genetic sequences of viruses to determine the ancestral origin of this novel and deadly pathogen. A digital ver- sion will be piloted by teachers in Alabama classrooms over a two-year period before the free, web version and downloadable app are available for public distribu- tion. Filtered will join rank with existing HudsonAlpha- developed digital programs like iCell ® , The Progress of Science ™ , Touching Triton ® and GenomeCache ® . The Educational Outreach team also creates hands- on learning activities that engage students and educa- tors to give them a clearer understanding of genetics, genomics, and biotechnology-related content. Their newest kit, Making Sense of Uncertainty ™ , allows stu- dents to take on the role of a clinical scientist examining human genome sequencing data and other evidence to determine whether a genetic variant is likely the cause of a patient's symptoms. The kit is designed for a class of 30 students working in groups and includes a digi- tal slide presentation and a script that helps teachers guide the students through the activity. Making Sense of Uncertainty is one of seven HudsonAlpha-developed kits commercially available through Carolina Biological Supply Company ( ). The kits are avail- able nationwide and annually reach more than 86,000 students in Alabama and across our nation. The majority of the learning experiences offered by the Institute are geared toward students and educa- tors at the middle school level and older. In 2020, the Educational Outreach team developed their first ele- mentary level activity. The learning activity introduces third grade students to genetics by allowing them to



HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology

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