November 26, 2015

Discover the Microbes Within!: The Wolbachia Project
An Arthur Vining Davis Foundation Science Education Program


Program Coordinator:
Christine Bizinkauskas

Course Date: August 11-15, 2014

Overview Article (PDF) | Course Website | Application (PDF)

Discover the Microbes Within! is designed for high school biology educators in an effort to modernize biology labs and lesson plans with discovery-based labs, biotechnology, and symbiosis. This integrative lab series is founded on the principle that students want to learn science the way science is done, and in so doing, students enhance their understanding of biology and scientific inquiry while collecting reliable data new to the scientific community. The project’s four core goals are to:

  1. Engage high school students in nature and real-world research
  2. Encourage nationwide participation in the collection and of new scientific data on bacterial endosymbionts (Wolbachia)
  3. Enhance student interest in science through an integrative lab series spanning biodiversity to molecular biology
  4. Show students what it is like to be a scientist.

Key Features of the Lab Series:

  • Workshop: As part of our ongoing effort to train high school teachers to bring “discovery science” into their classrooms, this teacher education program will be offered jointly with Bridgewater State University (BSU) and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL). It will be held on the campus of BSU and will include teachers-in-training and current high school teachers interested in introducing a hands on lab series into their biology classrooms. There will be an optional field trip to visit the “Science Village” of Woods Hole on August 15th.
  • Loaner Program: A free thermal cycler loaner program is available from the MBL to teachers who implement the lab on polymerase chain reaction. Our objective is to integrate this cutting edge technology to your classroom for no costs.
  • DNA Sequencing: Teachers can coordinate a free sequencing collaboration with the MBL to determine the DNA sequence of a gene from Wolbachia. Students can then use these sequences in a Bioinformatics lab.
  • Summer Research ‘Envisionships’: Six-week long summer research experiences are available for selected high school students and teachers who conducted the Discover the Microbes Within! lab series in their classrooms. These paid summer research experiences would occur in a Wolbachia research lab at the MBL or local institution near the participant’s location.
  • Travel: Lodging, meals and all education materials will be covered. Participants should make every effort to secure their own funding for travel. In the event that travel support is not available, we can support travel for a limited number of teachers.