Current Florida and NIH initiatives in translational research require that today's students understand, and are academically prepared for, the research, clinical and technical positions increasingly available in the continuum from basic research to marketable medicines, diagnostics and devices. However, few high school teachers have awareness or access to information about rapidly developing biomedical science content, technologies, and careers. To address this unmet need, we created the Biomedical Explorations: Bench to Bedside project, which proposes to create and expand partnerships that (1) connect researchers in interdisciplinary biomedical sciences with teachers in high schools and (2) promote interest in and preparation for bioscience careers. Currently at the end of year 2 in a 3 year cycle, Phase has had success in generating collaborations that bridge the gaps from cutting edge research labs to high school science teachers across Florida, and on to talented young students in those communities. Our new proposal, Biomedical Explorations: Bench to Bedside Phase II, builds on the science and education partnerships created in Phase I via an innovative program that integrates experiences from a summer Institute into classroom action during the school year. During the Institute, an experimental sequence in authentic basic science, clinical and applied research environments illustrate current scientific content, pedagogical methods, diverse career options, and conceptual and technological interrelationships within the bench to bedside continuum. During the school year, action research, resources, presentations, review of classroom outcomes, and incentives for ongoing professional development provide teachers with continuing support and encouragement. This proposal integrates the Phase I experience with new curricula related to research internships which convey to students the principles of translational research and drug development in the context of biomedicine. We anticipate that development of these curricula will further aid teachers in transitioning scientific processes, real-world skills, and enthusiasm or bioscience careers to schools in rural and economically disadvantaged settings.
(prepared by applicant): Biomedical Explorations: Bench to Bedside proposal supports science teachers in ongoing opportunities for personal enrichment and professional advancement in biomedical education, and empowers them as agents of change in classroom. It further aims to utilize its association with UF's Clinical and Translationa Science Institute to increase interest and community- engagement in bioscience as well as relevant information on the newest advances in health and translational medicine.