April 2014 Volume 3, Issue 2

Success Stories Using Bio-Rad® Laboratories’ Biotechnology Explorer Program

Sherri Andrews, PhD
Curriculum and Training Specialist
Bio-Rad® Laboratories


Bio-Rad Laboratories manufactures and distributes products for life science research and clinical diagnostics. The company has been advancing scientific discovery and improving health care for over 60 years. More recently, Bio-Rad became invested in advancing and improving life science education by creating the Biotechnology Explorer program in 1997. This program is dedicated to improving science education by making real world, hands-on kits to help teach biotechnology and life science to students at the high school and undergraduate level. Educators gain access to research grade equipment and assistance in their teaching goals through professional development. The program has had the privilege to help teachers reach more than 12 million students world-wide using Bio-Rad curriculum materials and kits. The core beliefs of this program is to teach students to learn real science by performing laboratory research and to make teaching hands-on science easy and accessible for teachers, thus ensuring student access and success. I would like to share a few of these stories.

Ray Cinti has a high school biotech program in California. Ray has attended many of Bio-Rad’s professional development workshops. These workshops allowed him to refine his skills and teaching which is now transforming his community. His ongoing high school research project “Conservation of Coastal Redwoods” is based on Bio-Rad’s Cloning and Sequencing Explorer Series. Ray says that they have “taken the Cloning and Sequencing Explorer Series to new heights because they have applied it to an important question about the genetic biodiversity of redwood groves.” He has created an iBook for his class, using QR codes of GAPDH sequences, so that visitors at Muir Woods National Monument in Marin County, CA can compare trees. The project is in its fourth year and Ray says he has “never experienced this type of excitement in all my 20 years as an educator “.

Josh Heward is located in Utah. Josh’s program is a one year intensive program that focuses on techniques using Bio-Rad products and equipment. The final research project for his course involves the students putting all of the techniques they've learned together to work on the sequencing of a genome from Halorubrum salsolis, an organism found in the Great Salt Lake. His students work with Utah Valley University and Salt Lake Community College to do the sequencing and the bio-informatics for the samples. This project allows his students to contribute to authentic research as the group attempts to zero in on enzymes that have industrial applications. The project is supported by the National Science Foundation.

Kathy Savage is an instructor at a high school in Florida that had one of the first biotech programs in the state.  She tells the success story of one of her students: "Ciara is a young woman who has always been interested in the medical field. She also suffers some disabilities and was on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) while she was in high school. She was enrolled in our bioscience program and completed all three years, though not without some struggle. As a student in our program Ciara was exposed to many biotechnology techniques. Using equipment and kits from Bio-Rad she performed labs that included gel electrophoresis, PCR, western blot, PAGE, restriction enzyme analysis, bacterial transformation, etc. Though she didn't have the highest GPA she was accepted to Penn State based upon her interview and experience in our program. During her freshman year she was called for a second interview with one of the Biology professors who had heard of Ciara and our program. As a result of her experience and interview she was offered a position as head researcher on a complex four year insect barcoding project that, among other things, includes extracting the mitochondrial DNA gene Cytochrome Oxidase 1 and linking her data with a database for the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario. Ciara has already written a grant and begun her work overseeing college juniors and seniors. This is a remarkable opportunity and experience for a college freshman and she attributes this directly to our bioscience program and Bio-Rad." 

These success stories can be your success story. Be assured you can count on Bio-Rad to offer quality products that make your teaching easier and your students more successful in following their scientific curiosity.

Contact: standrews@triad.rr.com

Website: http://www.bio-rad.com/en-us/education