On Wednesday, March 8 and Thursday, March 9, 190 Massachusetts high school students participated in Biotech Futures, an event held at Northeastern University and organized by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation (MassBioEd).
Biotech Futures is a college and career exploration event that exposes students to the educational opportunities and diverse fields of study in the life sciences at the college level though hands-on laboratory experiences and campus tours. Biotech Futures is a component of MassBioEd’s BioTeach program, which provides lab-based training in biotechnology to 150 public high school science teachers each year.
“At Biotech Futures events, students see the connection between their BioTeach-inspired lab experiences and exciting collegiate-level science and engineering programs,” said Peter Abair, Executive Director of MassBioEd. “The involvement of faculty and graduate students who share their research and career pathways often makes these experiences transformative for the participating students. These students were very engaged and are a credit to their high schools and communities.”
Throughout the day, students participated in several hands-on labs led by Northeastern’s faculty. Among other activities, students had the opportunity to purify and analyze Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and learn how fluorescent proteins can be used in screens to identify new therapeutics, and explore photosynthesis and respiration using algae immobilized in calcium alginate.
“Biotech Futures Day is a win-win – not only is it an ideal way for high school students to learn about options for undergraduate study and the various career paths available to them in the biotechnology industry, but it is also very rewarding for us, the faculty of Northeastern’s College of Science, to share our own research and life experiences with the students,” said Jared Auclair, Director of the Biotechnology Programs for the College of Science.
Participating schools included:
- Ludlow High School
- Watertown High School
- Greater Lawrence Technical School
- North Attleborough High School
- Wilmington High School
Biotech Futures, part of MassBioEd’s signature BioTeach program, aims to increase students’ interest in pursuing further study and careers in the life sciences. Through BioTeach, MassBioEd provides teacher professional development workshops and mentoring, student experiential learning and career exploration opportunities, and funds to public schools for lab supplies and equipment.