The overall goal of the proposed University of Texas-Pan American’s Model Biosciences Education Project is to develop a biotechnology and medical laboratory science curriculum and establish a regional biotechnology learning laboratory (hereafter Regional Biotech) that will provide handson inquiry based educational experiences in biotechnology and laboratory science for middle and high school students in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas. Regional Biotech will enable biomedical scientists clinical laboratory scientists and educators to teach middle/high school students and their teachers modern biotechnology laboratory techniques including practical applications of these techniques to the diagnosis of human diseases. Many school districts are reported to lack the resources students and teachers need to conduct inquiry based hands-on science particularly biotechnology and this shortcoming is cited as one of the reasons middle and high school students perform poorly in science. Scarcity of resources in school districts is worse in the Lower Rio Grande Valley a four county region situated along the south Texas border with Mexico and comprising 30 independent school districts with a predominantly Hispanic population. Regional Biotech will be a centralized laboratory strategically located at the University of Texas Pan American (UTPA). We will augment two newly remodeled laboratories with state-of-the-equipment plus laboratory personnel to provide laboratory facilities daily for students and their teachers. The curriculum and experiment modules will be drawn from cell and molecular biology clinical chemistry immunology hematology immunohematology and microbiology. Students in all schools in the region eight percent of who are recognized as economically disadvantaged will be targeted. We are confident of succeeding in fully implementing this project because of the following: biomedical expertise; existing partnerships between UTPA and area school distrits; experience in developing and implementing pre- college biomedical science enrichment programs for predominantly Hispanic students; the commitment of the UTPA administration; the urgent needs of a community located in one of the nation’s poorest standard metropolitan statistical area; and the strong support we receive from the community.
This project will develop a biotechnology and medical laboratory science curriculum adapted and expanded on the CityLab model. It will establish a regional biotechnology learning laboratory that will provide hands-on inquiry based educational experiences in biotechnology and laboratory science for middle and high school students in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas. The curriculum and experiment modules will be drawn from cell and molecular biology clinical chemistry immunology hematology immunohematology and microbiology.