Summer Workshops Inspire Teaching of Biotechnology

Summer Workshops Inspire Teaching of Biotechnology

biotechnology teaching workshop

Pioneering scientists and education leaders inspired Chicago teachers at a spring symposium to kick off a summer series of workshops in biotechnology teaching. Now this summer teacher workshops continue to prepare teachers for biotechnology teaching that can give students an edge in cutting-edge science.

The sponsors of both the symposium and summer workshops are Northwestern’s Office of STEM Education Partnerships (OSEP), Baxter International Inc. and the Biotechnology Center of Excellence (BCoE) at Lindblom Math and Science Academy. Making school science like real science is a goal of the entire summer series of workshops on teaching biotechnology:

  • Survey of Biotechnology Professional Development Workshop, July 8-12: Middle and high school science teachers will learn about ways to incorporate biotechnology in their classrooms. This weeklong workshop features hands-on labs and discussions with Baxter research scientists.
  • NUBIO (Northwestern University Biology Investigations in Oncofertility) Professional Development Workshop, July 15-18: High school biology, anatomy, biotechnology and health science teachers will learn about NUBIO curriculum modules based on oncofertility research at Northwestern University.
  • Research Lab Experiences, July 29-August 2: Teachers will spend two weeks in leading-edge biotechnology laboratories at Northwestern University and tour Baxter’s facilities. 

The ultimate goal of the symposium and workshop series is to encourage biotechnology teaching so that students develop as leaders in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). “We have a passion for exciting and engaging the next generation of scientists in STEM education,” commented Kemi Jona, director of OSEP, in his opening remarks at the symposium.

“Bringing Biotech from the Bench to the K-12 Classroom” allowed nearly 100 Chicago educators to learn from research scientists at Northwestern University and Baxter International Inc. Keynote speaker Lonnie Shea, professor of chemical and biological engineering in Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, focuses on regenerative medicine as the area for his area of research. He told the teachers, “I’d like to show you the enthusiasm and excitement I have to work in this field. Hopefully you can take this back to your students and inspire them as well.”

Shea walked teachers through several applications developed by his lab, many of which can be done in the high school lab, he said. For example, he described materials to control the environment for drug delivery in the treatment of multiple sclerosis and a fabrication for treating Type 1 diabetes.

In hands-on sessions teachers at the symposium tried out curriculum modules in such cutting-edge fields as bioinformatics, protomics, oncofertility and biotechnology. In addition, senior researchers and executives from Baxter International Inc. gave presentations on biotechnology trends and how biotechnology shapes today’s health care.

For more information on the Biotechnology Professional Development Series, contact Emily Ferrin, emily.ferrin@northwestern.edu.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/27/17