Project Details


A zero-cost online biotechnology program for middle and high schools A zero-cost online biotechnology program for middle and high schools A pipeline for free K-12 biotechnology education. Computer simulation of molecular movies (so called Molecular Dynamics or MD simulations) offer a solution to the conceptual needs of todays biotechnology education10. Inspired by the philosophy of a a computational microscope 11, we propose to use molecular dynamics simulations (co-developed by PI Singharoy, and popularly used by ~300,000 users around the world12) as an interactive strategy for introducing enquiry-based virtual biotechnology laboratories in secondary schools (Fig.1). Aim 1: By leveraging our MD simulation platform, trainees will (i) visualize molecules in 3D13, (ii) use their computer as a haptic device to enquire the real-time response of these biological objects simulated under external stimuli (forces or chemical reactions14), and finally, (iii) translate this knowledge to engineer models of simplified CRISPR-Cas9 systems, RNA-nanosensors, artificial organelles, and SARS-CoV-2 peptide vaccines discovering exploitable designs that represent the state of the art of biotech research. Our tools will provide trainees with their first molecular insights on DoD-wide focus areas (fuel, tunable material, military medicine and chem-bio defense), which they will also explore hands-on in ASU and DoD laboratories, namely at Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), through the Army Educational Outreach Programs AEOP (see ERDC letter). Aim 2: Following the popular TPACK or Technological, Pedagogical And Content Knowledge framework (created by collaborator Mishra15, 16, and implementing a certification program between ASUs Office of Digital Learning with AZ education board, we will integrate the software platform into 10 secondary school systems by training a cadre of 20 teachers, ~300 students and 3 instructors from ASUs Veterans Center every year (letters from schools, veteran center and District board). Aim 3: To simultaneously support the needs of all the 10 school systems in our pipeline, we will program high-performance remote display protocols on ASU and national supercomputers so that the virtual laboratory can support all students (see Research Computing and OakRidge letters). Academic performance of the training pipeline will be evaluated by ASUs College Research and Education Service Team (CREST); the programs cultural responsiveness will be gauged by DoDSTEM partner ASU Center for Gender Equity in Science and Technologys (CGESTs) data instruments[17]. The material will published in journals (e.g. Nature Education and Journal of Chemical Education), and dissimated for free by the Office of Digital Learning (ODL) to prepare teachers beyond our network for creating biotech capstone courses in their districts, and the students for future AEOP and apprentice programs in DoD labs.
Effective start/end date9/15/219/14/25


  • US Department of Defense (DOD): $1,399,584.00


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