BLACKSBURG, Va., Dec. 17 2004 - VBI partnered with the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, Va. to provide a K-14 Inservice Education Program on "Where Science and Math Meet: How Bioinformatics is Changing the Study of Disease, Cells, DNA and More". 

Dr. Brett Tyler, research professor at the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, was the keynote speaker at a seminar, which was held on November 2, 2004. Tyler’s address is one example of VBI’s vast outreach and education efforts. Through its connection to community, VBI strives to embody Virginia Tech's focus on "putting knowledge to work" by bringing bioinformatics research and education to the larger community. Through educational partnerships, VBI hopes to foster interest and create new, useful skills in the scientists and engineers of tomorrow.

Tyler introduced the teachers to bioinformatics and its relevance to the sequence of DNA bases and biochemical pathways and growth. He also gave them examples of kindergarten, fourth-grade, seventh-grade, and high school science classroom activities to incorporate bioinformatics concepts with the Standards of Learning (SOL) curriculum.

The seminar was held as part of the Cutting Edge program—a faculty outreach development program funded by the Department of Education. It is designed to introduce teachers from elementary through college levels to the latest advances in new and exciting research in math and science. The program also provides a roadmap for introducing this new information into the classroom. World-class researchers provide interactive presentations about their fields, which include robotics, bioinformatics, and nanotechnology, among others.

"There are so many technology research avenues that the Institute for Advanced Learning & Research is involved in that we try to help the teachers get the student interested," said Kenneth Tyburski, coordinator of learning programs. "Bioinformatics is using mathematical models and computing to answer biological question. By applying the technology to everyday problems, such as sickness and plant growth, it will male the math and science more interesting for the students."

For more information on VBI’s outreach and education programs, please visit VBI's Outreach page.

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Susan Bland
(540) 231-1767;

Published by Susan Bland, December 16, 2004