Release Date: June 27, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. – One of the most exciting fields in science is the emerging ability to identify genetic material in the environment.
Perhaps the most well-known recent example of this involved detecting viral RNA of COVID-19 in wastewater.
Nearly a dozen local high school students this week will learn firsthand about the science that makes such discoveries possible at the Eric Pitman Annual Summer Workshop in Computational Science.
The workshop is presented by the University at Buffalo Center for Computational Science (CCR) in partnership with the UB Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics and Life Sciences (CBLS).
Open to members of the news media, students will tour research labs on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, including at Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, learn from guest lecturers, and give final presentations of their genomic screening of stream water on Friday.
Who: 11 high school students from Western New York.
When: June 26-30.
Where: UB CCR at 701 Ellicott St., Buffalo, and other locations on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus.
Note to media: The best time to cover the workshop is at 2 p.m. on Friday on the second floor at 701 Ellicott St. Students will be delivering their presentations on the biome of streams in Western New York.
Background: CCR leadership has organized a workshop in computational science for high school students annually since 1999.
In 2007, CCR renamed the workshop the Eric Pitman Annual Summer Workshop on Computational Science in honor of Eric Pitman, who was a freshman at St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute when he passed away in 2007 after a brief illness. A Science Olympiad participant at St. Gregory the Great Elementary School, Eric was an avid reader, a young man who enjoyed learning new things and challenging his thinking about the world and his place within it.
Leadership: The workshop’s director is E. Bruce Pitman, professor in the UB Department of Materials Design and Innovation, and Eric Pitman’s father.
Additional leaders include:
Also, Jennifer Surtees, professor of biochemistry and co-director of the Genome, Environment and Microbiome Community of Excellence at UB, will deliver a presentation on Wednesday on the genetic sequencing work she did in Western New York related to COVID-19 variants.