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Genome Sequencing Center Tour Videos and Classroom Activities
A video tour of the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center—supplemented by additional films and classroom activities—can help advanced high school students and college undergraduates understand the classical techniques of genome sequencing. Developed under HHMI Professor Sarah Elgin’s Genomics in Education project, the 30-minute video, “Sequencing a Genome: Inside the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center,” introduces students to the technology, equipment, and people who performed the high-throughput sequencing used to sequence the human genome, while describing the science at each step. The video tour shows the steps taken to produce the raw sequence component of a genome project, beginning with the cloned DNA of an organism and ending with a complete genome sequence. Animations appear throughout the video to explain the more detailed and molecular scientific processes. Interviews with Center staff illustrate different entry levels for a career in genome science. The website also contains a host of other resources for educators, including a complete script of the tour, diagrams of the Genome Sequencing Center pipeline, and a glossary of genomics terms. Classroom activities, such as “Paper PCR” and “Paper Terminators” lessons, help students integrate the concepts seen in the video. The developers, who seek feedback, encourage educators and students to complete the feedback forms on the site.
HHMI Professor: Sarah Elgin, Ph.D.
Award Years: 2002, 2006, 2010
Summary: Sarah Elgin, Ph.D., is an HHMI Professor at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, who studies the role of chromatin structure in gene regulation in fruit flies. Her HHMI-funded educational initiatives include:
- The development of curricula and multimedia materials that bring the concepts of genomics to the undergraduate and high school settings and help students become comfortable in using large data sets as a research tool in biology. Courses include a one-semester, upper-level laboratory course, Research Explorations in Genomics, that gives selected juniors and seniors an opportunity to work as a team on a large-scale sequencing project, and a bioinformatics laboratory that lets students use Web-based bioinformatics tools to explore the impact of a particular mutation on protein structure and metabolic function;
- A Summer Research Fellowships Program that enables middle school and high school science teachers to conduct research in the labs of Washington University faculty, learning first-hand about genomics research methods and developing genomics materials for their classrooms;
- A video tour of the Washington University Genome Sequencing Center that provides a close-up look at the equipment used in high-throughput sequencing and includes animations of the processes used to sequence DNA, as well as a related set of online classroom activities and resources; and
- The Genomics Education Partnership (GEP)—a partnership between Washington University and primarily undergraduate institutions—to enable students enrolled at other colleges and universities to collaborate on a large-scale genome sequencing project, using data available through Web-based repositories. The GEP organizes research projects and provides training/collaboration workshops for participating faculty and teaching assistants. The current projects center around regulation of chromatin packaging in the unique dot chromosome of Drosophila.