Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics

GeneLab For High School Students (GL4HS) Program Is Expanding Into U.S. Schools

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
December 6, 2021
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GeneLab For High School Students (GL4HS) Program Is Expanding Into U.S. Schools

The GL4HS program is a 4-week intensive summer program hosted by NASA Ames Research Center and funded by NASA’s Space Biology program.

2021 was the 5th year of the popular program developed and taught by Dr. Elizabeth Blaber (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute). Both high school students (15) and teachers (3) participate in the fully-funded program where they learn how to analyze transcriptomic (RNAseq) spaceflight data housed in the GeneLab data repository using the GeneLab Galaxy platform. Teacher/intern Jennifer Callison-Bliss has now implemented the GL4HS curriculum in her post-AP Biology course focused on molecular genetics at Wheeler High School in Marietta, Georgia. Twenty-eight 11th and 12th graders first learned how to do the analysis using a dataset (GLDS-104) spelled out in the curriculum manual, and then progressed to analyze data of their own choosing.

Jennifer says ” The first weeks students were going through the GL4HS manual to get familiar with the workflow. This week, my students have started working with other data sets to begin their final project for the class. They are going to go through the process of analyzing Genelab data to create a research proposal based on their data analysis.”

“In working on their research, my students are getting so excited about research and are immersing themselves in the process. They are taking initiative, thinking creatively and coming up with new conclusions that they are excited about. I feel like students are seeing the connection between what they learn in biology to what biological research is and they are being empowered to see that they are capable of important research. In short, my students are getting excited about biology, finding a passion for research and thinking critically about data which is very exciting to see.”

GL4HS teacher/interns this year also developed three custom curriculum modules for implementation in their classrooms. Callison-Bliss developed a module designed for AP or IB Biology courses based on mouse spleen transcriptomic analysis (GLDS-288). Both the GL4HS curriculum manual and the 2021 curriculum modules will be released publicly through the GeneLab website in the coming months.

GL4HS 2022 will be held virtually from June 14-July 8, 2022. Applications for student interns will open after January 1, 2022. Applications for teacher/interns will open in December.

GeneLab for High Schools: Growing the Next Generation of Scientists


Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻