Office of Science Education - go to OSE homepage
NIH SciEd Blog logo, click to go to SciEd home

March 2011

By: Gloria, Margaret | March 28 2011 | Category: Science Lite, Scientists in the Community, Tidbits for Teachers

Dr. Yvette Laclaustra working with patients in Haiti.March, Women’s History Month, is a time to celebrate achievements of women. This year’s theme--Our History Is Our Strength--pays tribute to the millions of women who are instrumental in creating a better world. They are the Marie Curies of today, able to excel in fields in which women were historically underrepresented. Many of these women have a connection to NIH. Some are featured in our free, award-winning Women Are Scientists video series--a partnership between the Office of Science Education and the Office of Research on Women's Health. Join us as we honor a couple of the exceptional women highlighted in these five DVDs!

In the words of a reader responding to an April 2010 SciEd blog post, the videos “add to a gathering perception that women should participate in greater numbers in fields of science. These videos also provide insights for encouraging lifelong curiosity and intellectual engagement. Many of the fundamentals in these videos apply to getting America's kids engaged in lifelong learning. For example, in the Women Are Researchers video, one interviewee discusses how having books and engaging materials around her house growing up helped her to become the researcher she is today.”

That’s Connie Noguchi, Ph.D., who advises students to “play hard.” She’s not only a researcher and the dean of the Graduate School at the NIH Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences, but also a black belt in Karate and mother of two. Connie says that developing skills in one activity or sport, rather than dabbling in many, helps her develop the kind of focus she also needs for her scientific research. To students who may want to follow in her career path, Connie says, “Learn as much basic science as you can, including taking math, chemistry, physics, and biology classes. Develop your reading and writing skills so that you will be able to communicate with other scientists and learn about what has been done before.”

In her professional life, Connie gave back for many years by hosting teacher interns in her lab at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. She shared research experiences that could be transmitted back to classrooms. Connie’s current passion is finding the best ways to treat sickle cell anemia.

The Women Are Surgeons video highlights women such as Yvette Laclaustra, a trauma surgeon, breast surgeon, wife, and mother of three. “There is nothing more honorable and spiritually rewarding than being a surgeon,” says Laclaustra, whose goal is to alleviate human suffering. She was on a volunteer team that did more than 100 surgeries and procedures in Honduras in 2004 through 2006 for the Light of the World Surgical Mission. She also spent five days in Haiti in 2010 doing hernia repairs, wound care, and mastectomies.

Born and educated in Puerto Rico, she is now on staff at St. Mary’s Medical Center in West Palm Beach, Florida, and has a private practice in general surgery. She serves on the Susan G. Komen South Florida Race for the Cure Leadership T eam. Yvette uses her considerable talents to pave the way for women and minorities to follow their career paths with a little greater ease.

Read more about Yvette and other women who have changed the face of medicine at the National Library of Medicine online exhibition

For information on student internships and opportunities at NIH, visit the OSE Website.
By: Dave | March 21 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers

This Thursday, March 24, NIH and the National Science Teachers Association are joining forces to present a live webinarExternal Web Site Policy on the brain and drug addiction. Dr. Rochelle Schwartz-BloomExternal Web Site Policy of Duke University will be presenting the webinar, which starts at 6:30 pm Eastern time. Registration is freeExternal Web Site Policy.

The webinar will take an “outside-in” look at the brain, how it works, and how its function changes in the presence of disease or drugs. The discussion will integrate principles in both biology and chemistry for the high school science teacher. This web seminar supports the lessons in the NIH curriculum supplement The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology Through the Study of Addiction - available for free upon request.

Can't make the March 24 live event? No worries, it'll be archived in the NSTA Learning CenterExternal Web Site Policy.
By: Gloria, Margaret | March 17 2011 | Category: Science Lite, Science News, Tidbits for Teachers

Fist coming out of a computer monitorThe President and the First Lady opened the summit with a video about bullying and the growing movement to make our communities places where young people can thrive. The President explained that the goal of the conference was to “dispel the myth that bullying is just a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of growing up.”

The President says bullying is harmful and that it “doesn’t even end at the school bell -- it can follow our children from the hallways to their cell phones to their computer screens.” He asks people to join the stop-bullying campaign by visiting

With computers and cell phones, cyberbullies may circulate aggressive messages far and wide, sometimes anonymously. Internet technology is increasingly in the hands of today’s youth, which has many benefits but also downsides with potentially far-reaching consequences. Tragically, the number of reports in the news of student suicides following incidents of cyberbullying is growing.

A recent NIH study notes that today’s children can’t always see who is bullying them, and this may be tougher to handle than traditional bullying. In fact, one of the study’s most notable findings was that cyberbully victims had higher depression scores over a 30-day period than did either the cyberbullies or the cyberbullies who are also victims.

The NIH study, based on a survey of students in grades 6 to 10, shows how prevalent cyberbullying is and the high rate of depression among victims. Cyber victims may not see or even be able to identify their harasser and may feel more vulnerable, isolated, and dehumanized at the time of attack than victims of traditional bullying, the study authors wrote in the Journal of Adolescent Health. Being bullied affects scholastic achievement, development of social skills, and general feelings of wellbeing, says Dr. Iannotti, the study’s senior author. Boys are more likely to be cyberbullies, and girls are more likely to be cyber victims. In an earlier study, the researchers noted that students were less likely to bully or to be victimized if they felt they had strong parental support.

The CDC reports that electronic aggression may peak around the end of middle school to the beginning of high school, and instant messaging appears to be the most common form of communication for cyberbullies. Victims of electronic aggression are significantly more likely than those who have not been victimized to use alcohol and other drugs, receive school detention or suspension, skip school, or experience in-person bullying.

These findings underscore the need to monitor and treat cyberbullying victims. First Lady Michelle Obama recently shared on the Today Show that she does not allow her children to participate on Facebook and is not a fan of young children using it. In fact, Facebook is restricted by law to users who are at least 13 years old.

The good news is that there’s a growing number of resources to help educators, parents, and students deal with cyberbullying.

Check out these Federal sites:

Here are some other good resources:

By: Gloria, Margaret | March 11 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Science History, Tidbits for Teachers

Images of cover art of Women Are Scientists DVD SeriesSince March is Women’s History Month, we’ve been thinking about our relevant, free resources about women for middle and high school students, including the Women Are Scientists DVD series. Each of the series’ five videos presents three women scientists who discuss the rewards and challenges of their careers and their unique pathways to success. This series is a partnership between the Office of Science Education and the Office of Research on Women's Health.

The Women Are Scientists DVDs reinforce the theme of the Presidential Proclamation of March 2011. President Obama wrote, “As we reflect on the triumphs of the past, we must also look to the limitless potential that lies ahead. To win the future, we must equip the young women of today with the knowledge, skills, and equal access to reach for the promise of tomorrow. My Administration is making unprecedented investments in education and is working to expand opportunities for women and girls in the STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] fields critical for growth in the 21st century economy.”

A favorite DVD, Women Scientists with Disabilities, highlights high-achieving women scientists who made their mark through tenacity, courage, and hard work despite physical handicaps. We loved learning about women like Bertha Melgoza, who lost her sight from a childhood illness and faced a tough future in Mexico. Now she’s a successful clinical psychologist in the United States with a husband, a son, and a full spiritual life.

To learn more about the generations of women who have shaped history, check out

The National Women’s History Museum is featuring a video on the roles American women played in shaping Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day (March 8), now celebrating its 100th anniversary.
By: Dave | March 2 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Tidbits for Teachers

Logo for NSTA 2011 meeting
Next week a posse of NIH folks will head west for the 2011 National Science Teachers Association ConferenceExternal Web Site Policy in San Francisco. There will be seven different booths in the exhibit hallExternal Web Site Policy. Come by to say hi and check out our latest resources.

We'll have a general science education booth (#1904) with representatives from the Office of Science Education, the Science Education Partnership Awards, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences.

You'll also be able to check out specific resources at these booths:

We hope to see you in San Francisco March 10th through the 13th!
By: Debbie | March 2 2011 | Category: NIH Resources, Research & Technology, Tidbits for Teachers

The application process is now open for the “2011 National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) Summer Workshop in Genomics.” The popular “Short Course” will be held July 24 – 29, 2011 on the main campus of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD.

This intensive six-day course for educators is designed to update collegiate instructors (biology and related disciplines) on current topics in genetics and genomic science. A majority of the course is researcher-taught affording attendees a unique opportunity to learn from leaders currently working in the field.

Details on course content, educator eligibility, and application guidelines are below. The NHGRI Summer Workshop in Genomics home page includes the 2010 course syllabus, a photograph of the 2010 class, and other helpful materials.

About the NHGRI Summer Workshop in Genomics

This weeklong course is designed to update biology instructors, as well as other instructors and researchers in related disciplines, on genomic science. The course focuses on the continuing effort to find the genetic basis of various diseases and disorders, and current topics on the ethical, legal and social implications of genomics. This course is especially intended for college and university faculty seeking to update their curriculum or to develop new courses related to genetics.

Workshop speakers consist of leading National Institutes of Health (NIH) genomic researchers. The course features extended tours of working laboratories at the NIH, structured lectures, and highly interactive sessions. Sessions on the microbiome, epigenetics, nanotechnology, animal models, current sequencing strategies, grant writing, and similar topics will be part of this year’s course.
Room and board are paid by NHGRI; the participant or the participant’s institution will pay travel costs both to, and from, the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland.


This course is designed to update instructors who (1) train students from racial and ethnic groups underrepresented in health related sciences and instructors from institutions that predominantly train students with disabilities and/or (2) train students from disadvantaged backgrounds including certain rural and inner-city environments.  For specific information on federal guidelines, see Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering and Poverty Guidelines, Research, and Measurement. Instructors from universities and two-and four-year colleges are eligible. 

How To Apply

To apply, email course director Jeffre Witherly, Ph.D., for application materials at

All aspects of the Workshop registration must be completed to be considered in the application process. All applications must be submitted electronically, and will be accepted until 5pm ET on Friday, March 25, 2011. Applicants will be notified of final application status by email by April 1, 2011.  Alumni of the Workshop who attended before 2005 are invited to apply.

More Information

Jeff Witherly, Ph.D.
Senior Advisor
National Human Genome Research Institute
National Institutes of Health
Building 31, Room B1B55
Bethesda, MD 20892

Phone: (301) 402-7333
Fax: (301) 480-3066
Contact Us  |   Blog Policies  |   Privacy  |   Report Technical Problems
About Us Awards Articles Accessibility
Office of Science Education Home Contact OSE FOIA Linking Policy Privacy Policy
Division of Program Coordination, Planning, and Strategic Initiatives National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal