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Researchers use NSERC Grant for 
Biotechnology Outreach in Underserved Classrooms

(July 9, 2010 – Thunder Bay, ON) Following receipt of a $36,000 NSERC PromoScience Grant, Lakehead University is pleased to offer another series of BioTrek Biotechnology Outreach workshops over the next three years.  Researchers involved in the BioTrek program will travel to classrooms throughout the Northwestern Ontario and Orillia regions to deliver interactive, hands-on science workshops to students in Grades 7 through 12.  The overall goal of the program is to further generate students’ interest and engagement in the field of biotechnology.

The broad range of applications BioTrek researchers present will further build on existing school curricula.  Students will have the opportunity to participate in experiments involving the collection and analysis of data as well as the operation of technical equipment and supplies that are typically unavailable to most classrooms.

BioTrek workshops focus on topics ranging from infectious disease to DNA analysis.  “In many ways, Biotechnology is the cornerstone of many research areas,” explains Lakehead University’s Dr. Heidi Schraft, Associate Biology Professor and BioTrek Project Leader.  “It is our hope that exposing these students to top-level researchers and graduate students, and to subject matter of this magnitude will trigger their scientific interest and eventually lead them to explore potential careers in the field of biotechnology.”  Dr. Schraft notes the tremendous response past workshops have received, from students as well as their teachers.  “This program has enabled us to develop substantial relationships with a number of schools in Northwestern Ontario and southern Ontario, which certainly speaks to the benefits of the program and its ongoing demand.” 

This is the first year an NSERC PromoScience Grant has been used to fund Lakehead's BioTrek program.  It was previously funded by Ontario’s Youth Science and Technology Outreach Program (YSTOP).

BioTrek has delivered quality biotechnology outreach programming to schools in Thunder Bay, Dryden, Fort Frances, Atikokan, Terrace Bay, Marathon, Barrie, and Orillia since 2006. 

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MEDIA: Dr. Schraft is available for media interview from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. today.  To arrange interview times, please contact Heather Scott, Communications Officer, at (807) 343-8177 or commun@lakeheadu.ca.

Last updated July 09, 2010

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