Virtual Field Trips
Virtual field trips with HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology provide live interaction with science educators, biotech entrepreneurs and genomics researchers. We use video streaming to provide virtual content support in genetics, genomics and biotechnology to middle school and high school audiences. The goal of this virtual interaction is to deliver content knowledge, improve student skill level and increase opportunities to experience real genomics research and biotechnology applications. Through an existing partnership with Alabama Science In Motion, as well as through educator professional development training, such as GREAT or GTAC workshops, teachers have access to HudsonAlpha materials. In providing a virtual interaction with a speaker to accompany existing HudsonAlpha materials, or as a stand-alone experience, students in any school have access to our unique learning opportunities.
HudsonAlpha Virtual Field Trip Descriptions
Help learners better understand the application of genomic sequencing and its utility in agriculture. Plants, like other living organisms, rely on the instructions contained in DNA. Changes in the DNA recipe influence many agriculturally important traits. Genomics helps scientists identify these DNA changes. Plant breeders use this information to develop higher- yielding, more flavorful or disease-resistant crops. These genetically informed varieties strengthen our planet’s food security.
Biotechnology in the Workplace
Biotechnology combines concepts from several branches of science, including genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and information technology. Although a cutting-edge field, it has roots that stretch back to the dawn of civilization. Across the centuries, its history can be traced in many thousands of stories of discovery and application in today’s workplace.
Cancer is a collection of diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. This abnormal growth is due to mutations in genes that regulate when and how often a cell divides. Most of these mutations are not inherited from parents, but are acquired over our lifetime. A number of environmental risks, such as smoking and UV light, can initiate the DNA damage. Multiple mutations are required to convert a normal cell to a cancerous tumor. Identifying which mutations are present in the cancer offers physicians clues to both outcome and treatment options. A number of medications have been developed based on current understanding of the genetic path that is disrupted during the cancer’s progression. HudsonAlpha and associate companies are engaged in a number of research-, diagnostic and treatment-based cancer applications.
DNA Sequencing and Beyond
DNA sequencing is a technology that rapidly determines the specific order of the adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine nucleotides in any DNA sequence. This technology has ultimately transformed biology by providing a tool for deciphering complete genes and entire genomes of organisms.
Personalized Medicine Genes are specific segments of DNA that contain the instructions for creating proteins. Different versions of a gene (called polymorphisms) may lead to slight differences in the proteins. These genetic differences contribute to the variation found in human hair and eye color, body size and shape and risk of developing various disease. Genetic differences also influence how our body processes medication, impacting proper dosage, effectiveness and the presence of potential harmful side effects. Personalized medicine is an attempt to identify the genetic variation present in a patient and identify their risk for certain disease and response to various types of medication. Personalized medicine offers the promise of customizing disease management, treatment and possibly even prevention, by identifying the genetic and environmental risks present for a patient.
Virtual Field Trip FAQs
Can I have an onsite visit and a virtual interaction?
Yes! There are a limited number of onsite visits (on a first come first serve basis; please see onsite field trips for more details). Virtual interactions are not limited. However, please allow a minimum of six weeks to fill each request.
Is there a cost?
There is no cost for virtual interactions.
Can I select the speaker for the virtual interaction?
The staff of Educational Outreach and the speakers work collaboratively based on the availability of speakers. Selection of a speaker will be determined by staff and based on speaker availability and the target audience.
Can I have multiple speakers within a day?
The staff of Educational Outreach can not guarantee a speaker’s availability for multiple sessions/classes throughout a day or within a week. Educational Outreach is currently investigating alternate options to enhance multiple one day experiences for our audiences. Stay tuned!
Who is eligible to participate in virtual field trips?
Virtual field trips are intended for audiences in grades 6-12 with 10 or more students.
How do I request a virtual field trip?
Please complete a virtual field trip request form.
When are virtual field trips offered?
Virtual field trips are offered Tuesday through Friday during the months of August through June.
What are the requirements?
It is our preference to use the Google platform, which requires a Google/gmail account. Google provides the best platform for our presenters to share slides. In order to use Google, Internet access will be required. Please contact your building/district technology personnel to assist with technology set up.
How can I prepare my students for the virtual interaction?
When completing the request form, please provide as much information as possible when addressing your goal(s) for the interaction. Please read the description of each topic prior to selecting. When you select the topic, you will be provided with background information about the topic, along with the speaker’s biography. Please share this information with the students. Feel free to contact Dasi Price, Student Experiences Lead and project manager of Virtual Field Trips, at email@example.com for assistance in helping your students make the most of this interaction.