Biotechnology taught as a tool for teaching

Blacksburg, Va. -- The global threat of Ebola Virus, biologically-inspired materials development at NASA, and work toward enhancing the nutrient value of foods through transgenics are among topics to be discussed at the 8th Biotechnology Educators' Conference at Virginia Tech July 16 to 19.

These presentations by nationally recognized experts will cap the East Coast's premier biotechnology conference for teachers. In addition to discussion of recent developments in biotechnology, the conference, which is sponsored by the university's Fralin Biotechnology Center, features hands-on workshops for high school teachers and college science faculty to help them teach biotechnology concepts and skills. The workshops are held on the afternoons of July 17 and 18 following the presentations and all day July 19.

A pre-conference Biotechnology Boot Camp will be offered the afternoon of July 16 for participants who are new to the field of biotechnology. Fralin outreach professionals will teach the fundamentals of using biotechnology as a tool to help students understand biology, including the basics of isolating and manipulating DNA.

Speakers scheduled for the morning of July 17 are:

  • Mia Siochi of the NASA Langley Research Center, giving a presentation entitled "Bioinspired Nanostructured Materials Development for Aerospace Applications: From Science Fiction to Reality."
  • Tom Geisbert of the U.S. Army Military Research Institute for Infectious Diseases, giving a presentation entitled "Ebola Virus: Global Threat or Hollywood Theatre?"
  • Craig Nessler of Virginia Tech's Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology and Weed Science, giving a presentation entitled "Waiter, What's That Rat Gene Doing in My Salad? Biotech Approaches to Increasing Vitamin C in Plants."

Speakers scheduled for the morning of July 18 are:

  • Rich Helm of the Fralin Biotechnology Center and Malcolm Potts of Virginia Tech's Dep

Contact: Dr. Erin Dolan
Virginia Tech

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