High School Science Discovery Program

Barnstable High School - Credit Emily Greenhalgh
Barnstable High School - Credit Emily Greenhalgh

Opportunities for Intensive, Discovery-based Learning

The Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) has expanded upon its successful model used in its world-renowned Advanced Research Training Courses for pre- and postdoctoral training and applied it to high school students. 

With the MBL’s High School Science Discovery Program (HSSDP), you can take your science classroom to the next level. We’ll immerse your students in active, ongoing research conducted by MBL research scientists who are tackling the major questions in basic biological sciences today. HSSDP allows your students hands-on learning and exploration of field and laboratory methods, and to discover the scientist within.

Course Format & Tuition Cost

Renowned scientists engage high school students in a unique MBL immersion experience to expand their knowledge and provide hands-on learning experiences. You’ll explore the Marine Resources Center, hold an actual Nobel Prize, and interact with sea urchins, horseshoe crabs, and more in the touch tank. Courses often incorporate leading-edge microscopy and computer image analysis.

This program follows a cohort-based, residential model. To learn how your school can enroll in the High School Science Discovery Program, email Jean Enright, Program Administrator.

Week-Long Courses:  $2800 per student

Three-Day Courses:  $1400 per student

Tuition cost includes room and board, laboratory supplies and equipment, and activities.

Scholarship opportunities may be available for public schools. To find out if your public school qualifies, email Jean Enright, Program Administrator.

Lead Faculty: Lisa Abbo

Other faculty: Carrie Albertin

The course focuses on the anatomy, development, and physiology of various animals, with an emphasis on local marine species. A mixture of hands-on work and lectures in methods for physical exams, anesthesia, and diagnostic sample collection give students an understanding of basic anatomy, disease, and health monitoring. Students examine a range of marine species from finfish to coral, and other invertebrates through dissection and imaging. They also observe organ system development during embryogenesis, with the opportunity to create time-lapse videos of zebrafish embryos and collect their own confocal microscope data to create 3D reconstructions of embryonic structures.  These lab activities will allow them to learn how current research scientists aim to understand how organs form during normal development, and how errors in this process lead to various birth defects.

Lead Faculty: Scott Chimileski

Course Description Coming Soon!

Lead Faculty: David Mark Welch, Hilary Morrison

Other faculty: Mitchell Sogin

Our ability to sequence DNA extracted from a wide variety of sources allows us to detect and identify organisms that we cannot see or culture. We have become aware that most multicellular creatures exist in a symbiotic relationship with microorganisms--their microbiome. As well, we are now able to monitor the presence of both micro and macroorganisms using DNA shed into the environment (eDNA). In this course, the students will investigate the host-associated microbiomes of marine model animals from the MBL's Marine Resources Center and/or identify the macroorganisms present in an ecosystem based on eDNA. Students will be introduced to the fundamentals of sequence-based community analysis through a combination of lectures, group discussion, laboratory work, and computer exercises. Students will design a sample collection scheme, collect environmental and host samples, record metadata, extract DNA, and construct sequencing libraries using the polymerase chain reaction. They will learn to use on-line bioinformatics tools for DNA sequence characterization and community composition analysis.

Lead Faculty: Carrie Albertin and Scott Bennett

This course will allow students to not only learn how CRISPR/Cas9 technology works, but to apply the technique in the lab to understand how it is used by research scientists to explore questions in basic biology, and the techniques implications for improving human health. Genome editing will be used to explore the development of the zebrafish, Danio rerio, a key species in biomedical research worldwide.  Students will manipulate genes involved in development to understand embryogenesis and organ formation, and how this research is directly connected to understanding human health and birth defects.  The course will also expose students to modern methods in microscopy. Finally, will also discuss the ethical implications of genome editing, an issue that is highly relevant to all members of society.

Remote video URL