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Bioinformatics Education Research


Our bioinformatics education research aims to provide evidence-based curricula and practices that increase students’ i) awareness, knowledge, and skill of bioinformatics, ii) access to education and research experiences in bioinformatics, and iii) workforce readiness in bioinformatics and transferable research skills.

We use a fusion of bioinformatics and biomedical research to create engaging course-based research experiences that support a variety of similar yet distinct projects for a class setting.

The Authentic Bioinformatics in the Classroom (ABC) Project

The overall goal of the ABC project is to develop bioinformatics and biomedical research interests and skills of high school students in our community by integrating a novel bioinformatics curriculum into the high school biology curriculum. Our curriculum also provides a bioinformatics driven biomedical research experience for the classroom. 

The ABC project provides Professional Development for high school biology teachers to prepare them for teaching the bioinformatics curriculum. The teachers also collaborate with us on developing, implementing, and evaluating the bioinformatics curriculum. To assist teachers in implementing the curriculum, the ABC project provides Bioinformatics Ambassadors (BAs) as assistants for the teachers and near-peer mentors for the students. BAs are undergraduate students or recent graduates with an interest in teaching and training in bioinformatics. We aim to accomplish an evidence-based curriculum that provides an improved learning experience of the biology content boosted by bioinformatics while also increasing awareness of bioinformatics among high school students. We hope our curriculum will stimulate an increase in interests for students go on to pursue STEM careers including biomedical sciences and bioinformatics.

The Investigating Career & Research Experience Access Through Evidence (iCREATE) project

The iCREATE project aims to improve students’ career development preparation and increase awareness of and access to biomedical research opportunities fueled by bioinformatics. The project provides two interventions:

Careers+ a one-week career development workshop

CURE+ a semester-long extension of a Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience (CURE)

iCREATE investigates the effectiveness of the two interventions and to how biology students develop career strategies, including which factors trigger the intent and action to pursue a biomedical career, including how this impact of the iCREATE interventions compares to the impact of selective research opportunities on campus. It also studies the impact of the project’s interventions on bioinformatics awareness, knowledge and skills. 

The Engaging and Mentoring through Biomedical Research And Career Exploration (EMBRACE) project

EMBRACE provides coordinated activities including, intentional career development opportunities, authentic student research experiences, and strategic faculty professional development to better prepare undergraduate students at our HSI to pursue advanced studies and join the biomedical research workforce. The research curriculum is focused on investigating infectious diseases through the lens of bioinformatics with the goal to improve the bioinformatics skillset in the future biomedical workforce.

Project elements include:

1) Spring Forward! an extracurricular biomedical research and career development experience

2) an advanced course-based research internship experience (CURIE) that builds on a CURE 

3) networking and career exploration events including mock applications to graduate programs

4) faculty development to improve institutional awareness of biomedical career trajectories and how to achieve them

5) a novel peer-mentor role (PRIMERs - PeeR Investigators Mentoring Experiences in Research) to mentor students and support their development of research and communication skills.

The research projects describe above were supported by the National Institute Of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under Award Numbers R25GM146301 (ABC), R01GM147150 (iCREATE), and National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R25AI170382 (EMBRACE). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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