Business Council of Alabama member HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology’s Vice President for Educational Outreach, Neil Lamb, PhD, and Director of Informatics Elizabeth Worthey, PhD, were featured in a national television broadcast, “American Graduate Day,” to raise awareness of programs and institutions focusing on education.
“American Graduate Day” was sponsored by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The program aired live from WNET studios on Oct. 3 and on Alabama Public Television stations.
HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville translates the promise of genomics into real-world benefits for people and their communities by engaging in bioscience and technology to improve human health and the quality of life. HudsonAlpha’s mission is genomic research, economic development, and educational outreach.
Dr. Lamb said HudsonAlpha’s education programs and efforts are designed to grow a genomics-literate society.
“Genetics and genomics are burgeoning fields of study, and we need to inspire and grow a workforce in those fields,” he said. “In addition, all students will need basic genomics knowledge to make informed decisions about the tests we take, the foods we eat, and how we pursue better health.”
Dr. Worthey said she became interested in education in computational and informatics-based fields by her personal interest in science and inspiring mentors.
“It’s all about keeping kids engaged,” she said. “An effective tool is positive encouragement and the drive to cure and let them learn how to fail and learn how to succeed.”
HudsonAlpha offers activities to relate to what is in textbooks, a series of middle-school camps, and summer courses about specific topics such as synthetic biology and how to engage students in digital media.
Dr. Lamb said ongoing research in the human genome is similar to trying to determine what’s in a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle using only 200 random pieces. HudsonAlpha and other researchers are putting more pieces on the floor to make a difference in what that means for human health, the environment, and the food supply, he said.