Mount Desert Island Biological Lab – Genomics course for Maine high school students

Photo credit: Michael York/MDIBL

pgEd was just in Bar Harbor, Maine for Mount Desert Island’s Biological Lab’s (MDIBL) Summer Academy in Genomics. 18 high school students spent a week diving into the world of genomics, thanks to a course run by Charlie Wray and supported by the NIH. The lab work is a great introduction into the many different approaches and techniques in genomics, and it was clear the students made huge leaps in only a week.  pgEd was there for a third year in a row to teach the ethical, social and legal issues that are emerging around personal genetics. The students were given a copy of the Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot – a wonderful book we highly recommend for students in high school and beyond.  We tackled criminal databases, the hopes for personalized medicine, direct to consumer genetics, and reproductive technologies, among many other topics. A very strong group of students allowed us to have many interesting discussions, in class, outside, in the dining hall, etc.  A really great program, and something I hope to participate in again!

And students, if you are reading – a few stories caught my eye since we talked. More proof that things are moving at an incredibly fast pace!

Would Judge Give Psychopath with Genetic Defect a Lighter Sentence?: NPR
Archived blood spots could an an epigenetic jackpot: Nature news and comment

And thanks to James Musick at Genetech for sharing their stash of buttons (each with a trait printed on it) with us! They were a huge hit!