Outreach and Professional Development

International Professional Development Workshops for Research Scientists We have worked closely with Dr. Karin Borgh, Executive Director of BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTCI), to develop bioinformatics-related workshops. The workshops we have developed together include: Techniques in Bioinformatics and Comparative Genomics, Database Design and Development for Genomics Research, and Computational Approaches to the Analysis of Gene Expression Data. These are very intensive pragmatic workshops geared for practicing professionals. We have trained 121 people, primarily postdoctoral fellows, professors and scientists from industry, from 30 states and 11 foreign institutions.

Presentations to high school assemblies and local artist groups As part of the Genetics Society of America Mentorship Program, we have given presentations to local high school assemblies at Gateway Regional High School and Westfield High School for National DNA Day, commemorating the completion of the Human Genome Project and the discovery of DNA’s double helix. We have also given presentations to a local artist group interested in the interface between science and art.

Workshops and seminars for K12 teachers  We have organized workshops and seminars for K12 teachers through the UMass Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education Institute. Our most recent workshop was "Backyard Biofuels: Understanding the Genomic Potential of the Q Microbe". In the last two years Clostridium phytofermentans has become a “Local Hero” and is known as the Q Microbe because it was discovered near the Quabbin reservoir and because of the publicity surrounding the biofuels startup company Qteros. Qteros is founded upon the concept of using this locally discovered microbe to produce ethanol from plant fibers. The Q Microbe is a very tractable system for engaging high school students in the microbiology of forest soils, genomics and biotechnology. The goal is to provide a fundamental understanding of genome science using free and/or web-based tools, and classroom activities for diverse levels. Course site