Taking Strides to Educate Communities About Genetics

Three UB Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence projects have received funding to create new and innovative ways to educate and engage teachers as well as the public about genetics.

GEM Grants for Genetic Research

The grants are aimed at expanding public understanding of and participation in the life sciences, a major initiative of GEM. An interdisciplinary community of UB faculty and staff are dedicated to advancing research on the genome and microbiome and educating the public is vital.

Community-Based Genetic Learning

UB researchers will organize workshops, conferences, and outreach programs that will introduce students to genetics. Hopefully, this will improve the pipeline for the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce, as well as create community-based participatory research to help answer concerns among black women about breast cancer risks and genetic testing.

Genetics Projects Proposed

  • Dragon Breeding: Introduce high schoolers to genetics by creating their own fictional dragons. Using the GENIQUEST game software developed by the Concord Consortium and The Jackson Laboratory, students will breed dragons for desired genetic traits, such as color, wings, and special abilities.
  • Breast Cancer Risks in Black Women: In conjunction with Patient Voices Network and Jewels in Our Genes, UB faculty will hold focus groups to identify questions and concerns black women have about genetic predisposition to breast cancer, and their perception of the benefits, risks, and experiences with genetic testing. These findings will guide development and testing tailored educational messages.
  • Increase the STEM Workforce: Educators from bioinformatics and genomics disciplines will be invited to a conference focusing on improving curricula, forming connections within the field, and exchanging ideas on how to go about increasing the STEM workforce. Participants will include SUNY faculty of all disciplines, members of the New York State Area Health Education Center System (NYS AHEC), science teachers and community partners in the healthcare and life science fields.

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