New Amgen Foundation Grant Connects Georgetown Labs to Area Classrooms

Posted in GUMC Stories

In an effort to expose more Washington-area high school students to real-world laboratory experiences, the Amgen Foundation is expanding its Amgen Biotech Experience in Washington and has awarded a grant to Georgetown University Medical Center (GUMC) to help with the project.

Jack G. Chirikjian, PhD, a professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular & cellular biology at GUMC, will lead the effort as recipient of the two-year $217,475 grant.

“At Georgetown, we place a high value on community engagement, particularly with students who will be our future scientists,” says Chirikjian. “With Amgen Foundation’s support, we can transport the laboratory experience here on campus to students in the community.”

Exposing Students and Teachers to Science

The Amgen Biotech Experience, expected to launch in Washington in 2014, introduces students and teachers in middle and high school classrooms to contemporary science techniques. The program provides teachers with a robust, hands-on biology curriculum, in addition to a full suite of transportable, research-grade equipment and supplies, at no cost to the participating schools.

Students are taught the scientific principles behind many Nobel Prize-winning discoveries, and are guided through the steps that biomedical researchers use to produce medicines.

For Georgetown, this work adds to other ongoing student training projects at GUMC including a recently awarded National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to train local high school students in labs at Georgetown and the NIH.

“The success of the Amgen Biotech Experience is due in large part to the grantees in our communities,” says Jean Lim Terra, president of the Amgen Foundation. “The collaboration with undergraduate institutions and nonprofit organizations helps give students real-world, hands-on lab experience to introduce them to the excitement of biotechnology and scientific discovery.”

By Karen Mallet, GUMC Communications 

(Published November 13, 2013)