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Genomic Sciences Institute

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Genomic Sciences Institute

Education at The Genomic Science Institute focuses on collaborations between area school districts, community learning institutions, and biomedical researchers.  We focus our activities on the following projects aimed at increasing science literacy in the area of biology and biotechnology.


High School Science Teacher Professional Development:

Funded by the United States Department of Education, we offer a professional development workshop for high school biology teachers who would like to update and expand their conceptual knowledge, inquiry-based teaching skills and pedagogical repertoire.  Throughout the week-long workshops, teachers interact with research scientists, participate in laboratory investigations, and learn methods for creating exemplary teaching plans for their classrooms. These workshops use genomics as a content-specific platform across biology, since genetics and genomics are fundamental to every biological discipline. 


Advances in genomics highlight the changing face of human genetics, as the Human Genome Project expands our knowledge of the genetic basis of human disease, and highlights the scientific and social ramifications of having our genetic blueprint known. Genomics also opens up new ways of thinking about human pathogens, their impact on our lives and health, and illustrates how biological science is practiced in the 21st Century as an interdisciplinary field where biology and computer science come together to analyze bourgeoning data from the genomic sequencing of so many genes from so many different organisms.  Genetics is arguably one of the most fundamental of scientific disciplines, not just for students wishing to go into science and biotechnology careers, but also for every student who will become a patient, parent or informed citizen in the genomics age. These content deepening seminars are designed for all high school biology teachers to update and extend their knowledge of biology by understanding genomics and the impact of genomic sequencing on biological science.  Our June 2008 workshop focused on microbial infections, with an introduction to current concepts about bacteria that can cause infections such as MRSA.   Prior workshopss included basic genetics, the molecular biology of DNA, an introduction to genomics and the Human  Genome Project, and  bioethics. 

A future workshop is planned on the exciting study of Bioinformatics.  

Biotechnology Technician Training Program:
Through a partnership with the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC), we provide research experiences for students completing their Biotechnology Technician degree at CCAC. Students work with selected faculty and master technicians at the Center for Genomic Sciences and learn to employ the concepts, procedures and technological tools of the scientific workplace.

Allegheny Women’s Biotechnology Workforce Collaborative:
Allegheny Women's Biotechnology Workforce Collaborative (AWBWC) is an educational intervention designed to support women who have been displaced from the workforce.  To address the economic needs of a region, and more particularly a community, the AWBWC has brought together a workforce investment board, a community college, biotechnology research institutes, and community redevelopment organizations with a localized group of disadvantaged women. By providing these women with a cost-free education, intensive support services, and life skills preparedness, we ready them for a career in the field of biotechnology, as well as increase their ability to become financially independent.  The women selected for this 3- year program will earn a Biotechnology Technician Associates Degree from CCAC and will be placed in internships at the Center for Genomic Sciences and other area research laboratories.


Open Heart Surgery Observation:
In partnership with the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery at Allegheny General Hospital, we offer high school biology teachers and their students the opportunity to observe an open heart surgery. Through the glass observation dome, they are able to see the surgical team perform an open heart surgery procedure such as valve replacement and coronary artery bypass.  They will also be able to speak with a member of the surgical team about the surgery and careers in medicine.  They witness first hand how the surgical team works together, the wonder of the human body, and the effects their choices make on their own health.  Our observation program is available on Mondays and Thursdays during the school year.


SciTech at the Carnegie Science Center:

Allegheny-Singer Research Institute is a Silver Sponsor of SciTech, a week-long science and technology expo for middle school and high school students.   For more information, visit: 


Featured at SciTech 2008, the daVinci® Surgical System.  Allegheny General Hospital is one of only a few hospitals in the Pittsburgh area that uses this ground-breaking technology.  Go to

for a detailed look at daVinci®!



For more information on any of these educational opportunities or to add your name to our contact list, email Pat Wolf at [email protected] or phone at (412) 359-6491.



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