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Genome Consortium for Active Learning (GCAT)
The Genome Consortium for Active Learning (GCAT) at Davidson College brings functional genomic methods to the undergraduate curriculum by involving students in research with DNA microarray technology, a method that simultaneously measures the expression levels of hundreds or thousands of genes. The website explains the steps that faculty can use to join the consortium, obtain chips from GCAT, conduct research and participate in assessment. It contains other helpful information, such as a fast and easy method for students to produce their own mini-microarrays without having to isolate RNA or DNA from biological sources. The site contains a MicroArray Genome Imaging and Clustering Tool (MAGIC) developed at Davidson College—free software for microarray data analysis that works on all platforms. GCAT also hosts on its site the award-winning Microarrays MediaBook, an innovative, animated, online tutorial that is a "related resource" within this database. The site also has links to synthetic biology, which GCAT is promoting as a way to blend biology and mathematics.
Program Director: Verna Miller Case, Ph.D.
Award Years: 1988, 1996, 2004, 2008
Summary: Davidson College is a private baccalaureate institution in Davidson, North Carolina. Its HHMI-funded initiatives include:
- The use of multiple strategies to engage students in the biomedical sciences, including the creation of a community of mentors and peers to carry students beyond the gateway year;
- An intensive summer laboratory “bridge” experience for rising high school seniors from underrepresented groups that prepares them for the challenges of college introductory biology courses by teaching them basic laboratory techniques and scientific methodology; and
- Support for the collaborative Genomic Consortium for Active Teaching (GCAT), which has helped produce new cadres of student researchers, primarily by introducing powerful DNA microarray methodology into the undergraduate curriculum at more than 160 institutions in the United States and Canada.