High school students from across the lower mainland will come together this week to become the next generation of genetics experts as Genome BC’s Geneskool Summer Camp travels to Capilano University in North Vancouver for an intensive five-day workshop.
Campers will learn about genetics, biotechnology, inheritance, virology, genetic diseases, forensics and microbiology to illustrate the use of genomics in everyday life. The program is designed to facilitate students working in teams to learn about science in a cooperative manner and explore applications of genomics beyond the lab by considering the science from social and ethical perspectives. And they have fun doing it. Their first morning opens with this:
A reclusive scientist working under an extremely high level of biosafety precaution in a biohazardous lab is found dead. Her colleagues – some devastated, some oddly indifferent – are now suspects. Her ransacked laboratory now an eerie crime scene…
Through a combination of dynamic lectures and hands-on experiments, students navigate the twists and turns of this who-done-it, as they interrogate suspects and investigate the crime scene for fingerprints, blood stains and clues. In Capilano University’s state-of-the-art lab facilities, campers participate in over a dozen labs including pipetting, gram staining, bacterial classification, DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), Jell-O brain dissection, karyotyping and gel electrophoresis. After a thorough investigation, campers use their newfound knowledge and experience to solve the crime.
This year campers will be visited by forensic experts from the Vancouver Police Department and BCIT’s Forensic Science and Technology Department. The speakers will give exciting presentations about their work in forensic DNA phenotyping and testing, biological screening and what goes into reviewing case files.
The Genome BC Geneskool program has been involved in communities throughout BC since 2004 and Geneskool Summer Camps have been travelling around the province since 2009.
“Our aim is that, after attending Genome BC Geneskool camp, students will continue to appreciate the value of science and math in today’s knowledge-based economy. We are hopeful that students not only develop greater understanding of genetic sciences, but realize the wealth of opportunity that exists in scientific disciplines,” says Sally Greenwood, Vice President, Communications and Education at Genome BC.
“Students are really enthusiastic about summer camp because it highlights the fun and relevance of science to their everyday lives and they get to see what life is like in a real university laboratory setting” says Ashley Port, Geneskool Summer Camp Director at Genome BC. “Campers get an opportunity to utilize new tools, learn firsthand from experts in the field, and explore the potential applications and impact of genomic technologies on society.”
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About Genome British Columbia:
Genome British Columbia leads genomics innovation on Canada’s West Coast and facilitates the integration of genomics into society. A recognized catalyst for government and industry, Genome BC invests in research, entrepreneurship and commercialization in life sciences to address challenges in key sectors such as health, forestry, fisheries and aquaculture, agri-food, energy, mining and environment. Genome BC partners with many national and international public and private funding organizations to drive BC’s bioeconomy. In addition to research, entrepreneurship and commercialization programs, Genome BC is committed to fostering an understanding and appreciation of the life sciences among teachers, students and the general public. www.genomebc.ca