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Juniata Wins NSF Funds for University Genome Sequencing Workshops

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pa., will use a $445,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct a series of workshops around the country that will give university biology teachers and students hands-on experience working with genome sequencing technologies.

The funding will support the Genome Consortium for Active Teaching Using Next-Generation Sequencing Network (GCAT-SEEK), which Juniata has launched with other mid-Atlantic partners, including Susquehanna University, Duquesne University, and Pennsylvania State University.

The aim is to enable thousands of biology faculty and students at liberal arts schools to gain expertise and experience using sequencing tools that are expensive and difficult to integrate into undergraduate education. An additional aim of the five-year program is to create educational modules for enhancing undergraduate experience and to support a network at participating institutions.

The GCAT-SEEK partners plan to host workshops in which faculty and students will generate and use massively parallel sequencing data in projects that are associated with their research interests.

In the project's first year, Juniata will host a four-day seminar. The next year the seminar will be at Lycoming College, in Williamsport, Pa. In the third and fourth years, two summer workshops will he held, with one at Juniata and one at a minority-serving institution, and events will be held at Morgan State University in Baltimore, and at California State University at Los Angeles. In the fifth year, Hampton University will host the workshop.

The grant was funded under NSF's Research Coordination Networks - Undergraduate Biology Education program, which was created to catalyze undergraduate biology education and to enhance curricula with ideas and technologies from the frontiers of science.

This program builds on Juniata's Genomics Leadership Initiative, which was funded in part by a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and an NSF grant in 2011 that created a research collaboration network that gives small colleges access to genetic sequencing cores at national labs and research universities.

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