Buffalo Public Schools students sit in Hohn Auditorium at Roswell Park Cancer Institute waiting for Genome Day to begin. Photo: Dylan Buyskes
Norma Nowak, executive director of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences, leads the parade of guest speakers to the stage. Photo: Dylan Buyskes
A student measures water that will be used to harvest her cheek cells. DNA is then harvested from those cells. Photo: Dylan Buyskes
A student watches as DNA from her cheek cells precipitates and appears visible in the test tube. Photo: Dylan Buyskes
Published March 15, 2016
Four hundred eighth-graders from Buffalo Public Schools got a glimpse of career opportunities in STEM last Thursday at Genome Day, sponsored by UB and Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
Part of a month-long series of events celebrating the science, technology, engineering and math fields, Genome Day was created to inspire and encourage students to think about pursuing STEM career opportunities.
The day began with a pep rally in Hohn Auditorium at Roswell Park, followed by opening remarks by Norma Nowak, executive director of UB’s New York State Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS).
Later, students visited the CBLS, where graduate students and postdoctoral associates from UB and RPCI led them through a series of fun, hands-on activities to promote genomic and bioinformatics literacy.
Students extracted their DNA and took it home in a necklace, completed a karyotyping activity to identify a disease by observing chromosomal differences, created an origami model that helped them understand the structure of DNA and identified genetic mutations by interpreting sequences from healthy and tumor cells.
In addition to Nowak, guest speakers included Provost Charles F. Zukoski; SUNY Trustee Eunice Lewin; Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent Kriner Cash; and Richard Hershberger, chief academic officer of Roswell Park.
Genome Day was a partnership of UB’s CBLS; UB’s Genome, the Environment and the Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence; SUNY; and Roswell Park, with the city of Buffalo and Buffalo Public Schools.