The overall goal for the Bioinformatics Inquiry through Sequencing (BIOSEQ) project is to provide opportunities for a broad audience of people to learn about the field of bioinformatics through inquiry based research. Three main activities will support this goal: 1. Increase knowledge of and participation in inquiry-based bioinformatics research among students and educators by establishing a sequencing center at Tufts University's Medford Campus for educational use. This sequencing center will be available to college students and high school students through college level research courses and will also be available to educators and students who wish to integrate sequencing into classroom projects, science fair projects, college level theses and graduate level research through an application process. 2. Introduce bioinformatics to college students and high school students through entry level, semester-long research-based courses designed to teach students laboratory skills, computer skills and research skills in the context of student designed projects. The high school student course will happen during the summer session, students will be able to receive college credit. Scholarships will be available for underrepresented minorities and those of low socioeconomic status to participate in the course. 3. Increase teacher knowledge of bioinformatics and inclusion of bioinformatics concepts in their courses by developing modular activities and curricular units to describe bioinformatics concepts, including the impact of bioinformatics on scientific and medical research. Some of these activities and units will be integrated into existing high school biology and computer science courses, and will include understanding of how bioinformatics and genomics have influenced individual and public health through innovations such as Genome Wide Association studies (GWAs) and Direct to Consumer (DTC) genetic testing. This five year project will involve faculty, staff, graduate students, and undergraduate students from Tufts'Chemistry and Computer science departments, faculty and students from Bunker Hill Community College, and teachers and high school students from four diverse, urban partner school districts.
The field of bioinformatics has played a key role in the genetics revolution. Bioinformatics has influenced individual health through innovations like Direct to Consumer Testing (DTC) and personalized medicine, and has influenced public health through new research capabilities like Genome Wide Association studies (GWAs). BIOSEQ will introduce educators and students to the tools of bioinformatics so that all participants can appreciate and understand bioinformatics and its role in public and personal health.