Chancellor, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory President Cut Ribbon on Harlem DNA Lab
Hands-on Approach Designed by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Scientists Will Prepare Students for Life and Careers in “The Genome Age”
Schools Chancellor Joel I. Klein and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory President Dr. Bruce Stillman today opened the Harlem DNA Lab, a state-of-the-art education facility that will provide students and teachers throughout the five boroughs with a program of laboratory-based study designed to bring the New York City public school curriculum fully into “the genome age.” Each school year approximately 4,000 middle- and high school students will visit the Harlem DNA Lab to study cell biology and conduct DNA experiments. Chancellor Klein and Dr. Stillman were joined by Assemblyman Adam Clayton Powell; and Peter Bruns, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Vice President for Grants and Special Programs at the John S. Roberts Education Complex in East Harlem, where the lab is located.
“I am thrilled our students and teachers now have access to the world’s leading biotechnology at the Harlem DNA Lab,” Chancellor Klein said. “I want to thank the Dolan DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for bringing this wonderful resource to our City’s public school students.”
“The Harlem DNA Lab builds upon and extends what we have learned over the last two decades at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s Dolan DNA Learning Center,” said Dr. Stillman, an expert in the biology of cancer. “This year, in fact, marks the 20th anniversary of the Center’s founding on Long Island, as the first institution in the United States dedicated to public genetics education.
“This great new initiative symbolizes the City’s recognition that we live in an age that is being significantly transformed by the science of the genome. Teaching our children—and the teachers who instruct them—about contemporary biology is not a luxury for the wealthiest school districts, but should be regarded as a must for our young people who will be entering the workforce in the next decade.”
The state-of-the-art genome lab is the result of collaboration between the New York City Department of Education and the Dolan DNA Learning Center, part of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), one of the world’s leading private, non-profit biomedical research and education institutions.
The Lab will teach students and educators using techniques and tools currently used by research scientists on the forefront of genome study. During the next five years, more than 800 New York City middle- and high school science teachers will receive professional development at the Harlem DNA Lab. Programs at the Lab will allow them to deliver hands-on, inquiry-based genetic and biotechnology lessons in their schools across the City. Additionally, middle- and high school students visiting the lab on half-day fieldtrips will participate in programs and lab activities designed to complement the scope and sequence of the New York City and State science curricula, and will fully conform with National Science Education Standards and Living Environment, and Advanced Placement biology coursework.
The collaborative initiative includes not only the public schools system of one of the largest public school systems in the country, but the generous support of private philanthropy, including a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The project’s funders also include the Dana Foundation, the Jerome L. Greene Foundation, the Goldman Sachs Foundation, and William Townsend Porter Foundation.
“This exciting new program combines years of highly successful experience, well-proven techniques and materials, and the advice and counsel of local teachers and administrators,” said Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Peter Bruns. It’s a visionary program that will ‘teach the teachers,’ and bring labs to classrooms that might otherwise not have had them.
“While other institutions are doing aspects of this, few if any have created an effort that combines the scientific expertise of a world-class research institution with the well-honed experience of master teachers. Importantly, we’ve been able to deploy this excellent concept in a new facility located right in the middle of the targeted school system. We’re confident the program will have a major and lasting impact on public education in New York and that it will serve as a model for the rest of the nation.”
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) is a private, not-for-profit research and education institution at the forefront of efforts in molecular biology and genetics to generate knowledge that will yield better diagnostics and treatments for cancer, neurological diseases and other major causes of human suffering. Visit www.dnalc.org for more information about CSHL’s Dolan DNA Learning and the Harlem DNA Lab.