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Seattle Non-Profit Receives $1.3 Million NSF Grant for Bioinformatics Education

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Seattle's Northwest Association for Biomedical Research announced yesterday that it has been awarded a three-year, $1.3 million National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers, or Bio-ITEST, grant to fund its education outreach programs.

NWABR, a non-profit organization focused on educating the public about biomedical research and its implications, plans to use the Bio-ITEST funding to support programs that help secondary school teachers and students understand information technology and its biological research applications. For instance, the program will offer professional development opportunities for teachers as well as curriculum resources for secondary school life sciences teachers.

In a statement issued yesterday, NWABR Director of Education Jeanne Ting Chowning, who is leading the project, noted that information technology has taken a central role in biological research since the human genome was released in 2001. Given this sharp rise in data and information generated in biology, she added, bioinformatics education outreach programs are important for helping young people understand biology.

The institution also aims to use the NSF grant to build on its programs addressing implications of new research, including NWABR's existing bioethics education outreach program.

"Seattle has world leading organizations focused on biomedical research and information technology, as well as a vibrant science education community," Chowning said in a statement. "We have an ideal region for bioinformatics education outreach programs and NWABR is honored to be at the center of this project."

Seattle-based bioinformatics company Geospiza, the Puget Sound Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, and the Bellevue Community College are among those collaborating on the project. NWABR plans to take advantage of existing relationships with school districts, research institutions, community groups, bioethicists, and others in order to carry out its education outreach programs.

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