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March 2010

By: Cynthia | March 23 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News

photo of scientist at workA new Web site from the National Human Genome Research Institute

When I was in high school, I liked studying genetics. In particular, I liked the study of inheritance, and figuring out how to complete a Punnett square. At the time, I had no idea of the variety of careers available in genomics. Today’s career-hunting high school and college students can explore the nearly 50 career options at the The Genomic Careers Resource Web site, by the National Human Genome Research Institute.

The just launched career exploration Web site offers users an orientation along with many resources to help students find a career that suits them best. Explore the interactive options to:

  • watch video interviews of real professionals
  • get in-depth information on many genomic careers
  • rate potential career choices to zero-in on your favorites
  • play an interactive game, The Genomics Challenge
By: Dave | March 18 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers

Logo for 2010 NSTA conference It's that time of the year. The National Science Teachers Association Annual ConferenceExternal Web Site Policy is happening in Philadelphia, and NIH will be there. Here's where you can find us:

Featured Panel: Gathering Storm or Gathering Cobwebs? What Is the Federal Response to the Science Education Crisis?
Friday, March 19 1:30–3:00 PM
The federal government annually invests $140 billion in science and technology, with more than $3 billion going to programs for science education and training. Yet most experts would agree with the conclusions found in the National Academies of Science’s Rising Above the Gathering Storm (2007) report that other nations are catching up to and/or surpassing the U.S. in our efforts to educate and train the next generation of highly technical workers. These conclusions have been the subject of sharp policy debates in Washington. One element of that debate has focused on the results of the federal investment. This panel will explore the effectiveness of the current federal investment and whether or not the federal government could improve its investment strategy in science education.
Moderator: Francis Q. Eberle (NSTA Executive Director)
Presenters: Bruce Fuchs (NIH), Bill Valdez (Dept. of Energy); Cora Marrett (National Science Foundation); Joyce Winterton (NASA); Bob McGahern (Dept. of Defense); Louisa Koch (NOAA); Donald Zink (FDA); and Michael Lach (Dept. of Education)

Free Online Teaching Resources from the National Institutes of Health
Friday, March 19 3:30–4:30 PM
Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin 8
Free online materials from NIH focusing on medically relevant life sciences include interactive games, image galleries, stories, and the opportunity to submit questions to scientists.
Presenter: Alisa Z. Machalek (National Institute of General Medical Sci.: Bethesda, MD)

Exploring Bioethics: A New Model for High School Instruction
Saturday, March 20 9:30–10:30 AM
Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin 1
Engage students in a new approach to examining biomedical practices, such as genetic testing, and developing their own well-justified positions on the ethical issues involved.
Presenter: Dave Vannier (National Institutes of Health: Bethesda, MD)
Examining the Bioethics of Animals in Research
Saturday, March 20 12:30–1:30 PM
Philadelphia Marriott, Franklin 1
Examine the ethics of genetically modifying animals for human gain. Respect and harms/benefits are presented in a new model for teaching bioethics in high school.
Presenter: Dave Vannier (National Institutes of Health: Bethesda, MD)
By: Debbie | March 15 2010 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers

Household Cleaning ProductsIn just five days, spring will officially arrive. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to enter into a season of renewal. I plan to focus on my out-with-the-old and in-with-the-new Spring-cleaning ritual. Some of the not-so-fun tasks ahead include, cleaning out my garage, and my over-stuffed craft and kitchen cabinets. Many items have been in there so long, they are starting to rust and leave nasty residues. I have motor oil, antifreeze, fertilizer, paint, solvents, stain removers, and home office supplies that I no longer use. What am I supposed to do with them? How do I dispose of them safely, without harming the environment?

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has a Web site that can help me and other spring cleaners out there. The NLM’s Household Products Database links over 9,000 consumer products. It allows you to research products based on chemical ingredients and is designed to help answer the following typical questions:
  • What are the chemical ingredients and their percentage in specific brands?
  • Which products contain specific chemical ingredients?
  • How do I handle and dispose of specific products?
  • Who manufactures a specific brand? How do I contact this manufacturer?
  • What are the acute and chronic health effects of chemical ingredients in a specific brand?
  • What other information is available about chemicals in the toxicology-related databases of the National Library of Medicine?
If you are a spring cleaner, or a teacher or student looking for in-depth information on specific products, or environmental health and toxicology information, these NLM links can help.

Now… get cleaning!

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By: Cindy, Gloria | March 1 2010 | Category: Research & Technology, Science News

Yifan Li - 2010 Intel Talent Search FinalistFor the Intel Science Talent Search (STS) competitionExternal Web Site Policy this year, 300 semifinalists were chosen from among 1,736 entrants from high schools in 37 states and the District of Columbia. Each semifinalist received a $1,000 award for their research, and $1,000 was given to their school to further excellence in science, math, and engineering education.

The 40 finalistsExternal Web Site Policy were named January 27, and the final judging processExternal Web Site Policy will be completed March 11 through 16 at the Science Talent Institute in Washington, D.C. The winner receives a scholarship award of $100,000.

Alumni of the Intel STS have made extraordinary contributions to science and hold more then 100 of the world’s most coveted science and math honors, including seven Nobel Prizes and three National Medals of Science.

This year, researchers in National Institutes of Health (NIH) laboratories mentored several of the semifinalists and one finalist:

NIH researchers and their mentees are enthusiastic about each other and their experiences together. Dr. Horvath says that Kristen is a brilliant student with impressive experience and knowledge in molecular biology and she was “perfectly matched with our lab.”

Dr. Venditti says that Conway contacted him after reading some of his lab’s papers on the NHGRI Web site. Conway’s experience opened his eyes to the world of medical research and how it is closely tied to the clinical aspects of medicine.

Lijin Dong said that Yifan came to the lab just like most high school students who have not been exposed much to the lab environment. “I worked with him on a daily basis by assigning readings, having discussions on the papers, and working through the logic of the project and lab skills,” he says.

I asked Yifan to explain his project so that other students would understand his work. He said, “Our project’s aim is to contribute to helping people who suffer from blindness -- in particular, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a common retinal disease,- that leads to visual impairment. “

Yifan stimulated embryonic stem cell s to grow into a type of eye cell whose deterioration is heavily associated with AMD. With the continued succes s of stem cell research, he believes that “we may see a burst of transplantation studies in the future that could lead to medical advances in curing retinal disease. “

When I asked how he’s preparing for the final competition, Yifan said that he’s getting a poster ready for his presentation during the conference and learning as much as possible about retinal development, retinal disease, and the progression of stem cell research. “I want to be able to field any question from any judge competently and confidently, so that’s going to take a lot of preparation,“ he said.

Have you mentored a student who has won a prestigious scientific award? Please let us know!

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